UN and other countries use the term ‘femicide.’ So should we.
We can’t continue to feign ignorance about the prevalence of women murdered by men in the United States (“Murder and misogyny,” Yvonne Abraham, Metro, Jan. 19). Violence against women by men has steadily increased over the past few decades. Femicide, a term used by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, by France, and by certain Latin American countries, is defined as an intentional killing with a gender-related motivation. It’s a term barely understood and seldom used in this country. If we don’t have the language to name it, then we avoid the truth.
Like all forms of gender-based violence against women and girls, femicide is a problem that affects every country across the globe. We’re sending a subliminal message when we call women murdered by men a domestic violence issue. That message is to keep abuse a secret at home, to be silent.
Femicide can be prevented by transforming harmful social norms, creating zero tolerance for violence against women, driving policy change, holding governments to account, and providing critical, survivor-centered services.
President and CEO
Brookview provides services to mothers and children experiencing and at risk of homelessness, many with histories of experiencing violence.
The stakes are high in women’s daily struggle for equality and respect
Yvonne Abraham’s urgent column “Murder and misogyny” (Metro, Jan. 19) is a shocking reminder that women are still vulnerable to abuse and even murder by men. She writes, “The conviction that women are property, to be possessed and controlled, persists. And too often that still ends up in violence.” She asks, “What is there left to say but stop?”
But there is more that needs to be said, and done, in addition to “stop.” Years ago, women formed support groups to address these issues. Some of these groups were called consciousness-raising groups. These gatherings offered women both support and awareness.
Saying “stop” is not enough. Women still need to know that the struggle for equality and respect in our relationships with men at work and at home is ongoing in the dominant culture and that misogyny continues in many aspects of our lives. We offer congratulations to Governor Maura Healey, Attorney General Andrea Campbell, and other impressive women leaders. But the daily work, in all arenas, must continue.
Dorothy Shubow Nelson