We Count Femicide Because...
Femicide Reporting in Ontario
Monthly and Annual femicide tracking by OAITH includes a gender-based killing of a woman, child, trans woman, 2-Spirited Person, or gender non-conforming individual where a man has been charged in relation to the death(s) or has otherwise been deemed responsible (murder-suicide). Femicide, most broadly defined, means the gender-based killing of women and girls and the most extreme form of violence towards them. In the Canadian context, the killing of a woman or girl could lead to Criminal Code charges of first or second degree murder (where the killing was intentional), manslaughter, or criminal negligence causing death.
OAITH reviews mainstream media reports of femicides involving women, children, trans women, 2-Spirited Peoples and gender non-conforming individuals. The annual report includes femicides that have occurred in Ontario during a 12 month period from November 26th through to November 25 of the following year. Annual reports are released on November 25th, the International Day for the Elimination of Gender-Based Violence. Monthly reporting captures the previous month and is released within the first week of the following month. Our reporting relies on mainstream media sources and other publicly available sources. This means the reports are not exhaustive and may include errors or omissions. It represents only a snapshot in time of public reports of femicides for the previous year (annual report) or previous month (monthly report) at the time the reports are published. The reports are not updated to reflect criminal justice outcomes after the reports have been published.
Evolving definitions of femicide attempt to include and represent the diversity of gender identities, relationships between victims and perpetrators, and motives for the killings. Our reports includes only those femicides where men have been charged with a criminal offence or deemed responsible (murder-suicide) and where there is a media report.
OAITH reviews and analyzes hundreds of mainstream media sources (i.e. local and national newspapers and TV clips) every year based on our definition of femicide and the victim/perpetrator relationship. Relationships include a current or former husband or boyfriend, a brother, son or a nephew, a male coworker, neighbour, friend or acquaintance, or another man closely known to them. Where the relationship between the victim and perpetrator is not known (or not released), but media reports indicate that a woman was killed as a result of a violent gendered crime, that woman’s name will be included on the list.
Every year we release our Annual Femicide List based on mainstream media reporting to ensure that we remember the victims, bring attention to the violence women, girls and gender-diverse people experience, and take action to move our list to zero through femicide prevention. OAITH works in partnership with Dr Mavis Morton of University of Guelph to track, analyze and educate the community about femicide.
We Count Femicide Because...
We Count Femicide Because is an initiative between OAITH and Building a Bigger Wave Ontario Network (BBW) to call attention to and address Femicide rates in Ontario.
We Count Femicide Because will raise a public alarm every time a femicide occurs in Ontario. We want to draw attention to the critical need for investments in prevention and to engage leaders in communities and at all levels of government in dialogue focused on the collective work needed to prevent femicide.
WE COUNT FEMICIDE BECAUSE:
- Indigenous, Black and 2SLGBTQ+ women, girls and gender-diverse individuals are at an increased risk and experience disproportionate levels of gender-based violence.
- Every life lost to femicide tears a hole in the fabric of our communities. We honour their lives and commit to making change to prevent future femicides.
- Naming men’s violence as the problem is part of the change we need to make as a society. We can’t change it if we can’t name it.
- For every femicide, there are more survivors who are not safe in their homes, workplaces and communities. We can do more to reach out and support them. We can engage their intimate partners, family members, friends, coworkers and acquaintances to end the violence.
Definition of Femicide
Femicide as a term was coined in 1976 by Diana Russell (Corradi et al. 2016, 976). It was promoted as an alternative to the gender-neutral term homicide to highlight the killing of women primarily for the reason of being women (Dayan & Bitton, 2022, 6). Radford and Russell emphasized that “… homicide deletes from the sociological eye that special, gender-based evidence of woman killing, which is different from the murder of men” (Corradi et al. 2016, 977). They brought to light the differential fact of women’s violent death and reframed it as a special social and political problem (Corradi et al. 2016, 977). The term “… ‘femicide’ itself emerged as a way to register the importance of gender and sex in the patterns of homicide across the globe (Walklate et al. 2020, 7). As the gender-related killing of women, the categorization of femicide could be argued to rely more so on the motive of the killer than the relationship between the victim and the offender. “However, the killing of women by their male partners is typically assumed to be a gendered killing as the relationship, and the power and control dynamics within it, is central to the killing (see, for example, Pierobom de Avila 2018)” (Walklate et al. 2020, 7). “It is the major cause of unnatural death of women globally and the seventh leading cause of premature death for women globally” (Dayan & Bitton, 2022, 3).
Corradi, C., Marcuello-Servos, C., Boira, S., & Weil, S. (2016). Theories of femicide
and their significance for social research. Current Sociology, 64(7), 967–974.
Dayan, H., & Bitton, Y. (2022). Femicide, Criminology and the Law. Taylor & Francis Group. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003333272
Walklate, S., Fitz-Gibbon, K., McCulloch, J., & Maher, J. (2020). Towards a Global Femicide Index: Counting the Costs (1st ed.). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781138393134
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