in 2015, 71 women were killed by known or suspected male violence.
Women Shout Out Australia and Reclaim the Night Perth will be continuing this count in 2016 to ensure that we maintain the focus on male violence against women started by Real for Women.
Why count women killed by men?
Destroy the Joint’s count of dead women names all women killed. Because most of the killers of women are male, we are focusing on that fact, to illuminate and discuss it.
And the evidence is clear – violence against women is overwhelmingly a gendered crime. Women do not kill men or women at the same rates, as demonstrated by recently published data from the ABS (link). The murders of women tend to fall within a cultural framework of male entitlement and perceived ownership of women (and children).
We aren’t selectively naming male violence against women to vilify men, we are seeking to name the reality facing women so we can stop it, as outlined by Real for Women when they explored the question of why count women murdered by men.
Is this just in Australia?
Despite this situation, national agencies seem un-inclined to gather statistics on the sexed nature of murder, instead reporting on victims.
As a result of this disinterest, individual women gather to count male violence against women around the world:
- UK: Karen Ingala-Smith – Counting Dead Women
- Canada: Orla Hegarty – Counting Dead Women Canada
- New Zealand: Real Protection Collective – Counting Dead Women NZ
- Spain: MUJERES ASESINADAS EN ESPAÑA POR VIOLENCIA MACHISTA en 2016
We thank the women undertaking these important counts. Coming face to face with the grim reality of murdered women on a daily and weekly basis is not an easy task.
Naming the Agent
We advocate both a literal and a grammatical naming of the agent.
News stories tend to focus not only on the sex of the victim, but they also explore ways in which fatal male violence against women is the victim’s fault, and continue to present men who have killed their partners and children as loving husbands and fathers, despite their murderous actions. Reclaim the Night Perth labelled this phenomenon #MysteryIsMisogyny, as the act of erasing male responsibility for violence against women is part of a systemic misogyny.
News of women’s deaths are also presented in very specific ways, predominantly in a passive voice that presents the deaths without reference to any active killer or their actions.
Man kills woman
(active voice becomes passive voice)
Woman is killed by man
(passive voice without agent)
Woman is killed
(loses agent action reference completely)
These deaths are presented as if women die mysteriously and alone.
Both types of framing stop us from seeing the pattern of what is occurring on a continual basis.
Without the data compiled in this count, with its focus on the agent, we are unable to properly analyse violence against women.
Without analysis, there is little hope of acting to stop with unending stream of needless deaths.
Misandry? What about the Men?
If you find discussing the reality of male violence against women more confronting than the ongoing deaths of women, often at the hands of men they know, then we would ask you to consider why counting statistics is more offensive to you than murder of women.
If you would like to explore the issues in violence against men, we invite you to start your own analysis. What the evidence shows is that people are over three times as likely to experience violence at the hands of men. We believe that the evidence shows that for both men and women the issue is one of male violence.
That reality needs naming.
The sex of violent perpetrators is significant and yet it is minimised and erased, protecting only male perpetrators.
Women are dying. We are counting and naming why.
If you know about any additional counts of Male Violence Against Women, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or via our facebook pages (Reclaim the Night Perth and Women Shout Out Australia) so we can add them to this list.