Mur­dered by loved ones

The Witness - - FEATURES -

HOME is the most dan­ger­ous place for a woman, ac­cord­ing to a United Na­tions study that found the num­ber of women killed by a part­ner or rel­a­tive is ris­ing glob­ally.

About 50 000 women were killed world­wide last year by a cur­rent or former part­ner or a fam­ily mem­ber — equat­ing to 137 per day or six per hour — ac­cord­ing to the United Na­tions Of­fice on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). “While the vast ma­jor­ity of homi­cide vic­tims are men, women con­tinue to pay the high­est price as a re­sult of gen­der in­equal­ity, dis­crim­i­na­tion and nega­tive stereo­types,” said UNODC ex­ec­u­tive Yury Fe­do­tov.

De­spite re­cent high-pro­file cam­paigns such as #MeToo, in which women pub­licly called out sex­ual ha­rass­ment, they are still far more likely than men to be mur­dered by their part­ner or fam­ily.

The to­tal num­ber of such mur­ders rose slightly be­tween 2012 and 2017, and the pro­por­tion of fe­male homi­cide vic­tims killed by part­ners or fam­ily rose from less than half in 2012 to nearly six in 10 last year.

Many were mur­dered by abu­sive part­ners, while oth­ers were vic­tims in so-called hon­our killings or dis­putes over dowries, the re­port said.

Mur­ders by part­ners or fam­ily are of­ten not one-off at­tacks, but the cul­mi­na­tion of pre­vi­ous abuse, said the re­port. “These shock­ing find­ings demon­strate the dev­as­tat­ing con­se­quences of gen­der in­equal­ity which per­pet­u­ates vi­o­lence against women,” said Sarah Masters of the rights group Wo­mankind World­wide.

The UNODC re­port called for more ac­tion to com­bat gen­der-based vi­o­lence, in­clud­ing greater co-or­di­na­tion be­tween po­lice, doc­tors and so­cial ser­vices, along with work to en­sure spe­cialised sup­port ser­vices are avail­able for women at risk. Men should also be in­volved in pro­grammes to com­bat dam­ag­ing gen­der norms from early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion on­wards, it added.

— Thom­son Reuters Foun­da­tion.

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