A focus on femicide

By Jesse Stokes, COLUMNIST
On June 11, 2019

The global arena is facing many large-scale challenges in the current day and age. While issues like the possibilities for nuclear war, climate change and terrorism abound, how can the world’s leaders possibly address every issue?

However, there is one issue that international leaders have turned a blind eye to for far too long: femicide.

Oxford Dictionaries define femicide as the killing of a woman or girl, in particular by a man and on account of her gender.

The machismo-minded Narco culture that's present in countries like Mexico and Honduras is one based around violence and gender dominance. This leaves many women and girls left to the wolves and without help, from their country or any.

Take Juarez, Mexico for example.

In this city femicide flourishes.

To fully understand how vast the issue is, one must break it down into two different parts. The first being, intimate femicide, which is when a female is killed by a man close to them like a boyfriend or husband. The second type is sexual femicide, which includes patterns of killing women that include rape, abduction and body abandonment.

A study by the Mexican educational institute Colegio de la Frontera Norte found that intimate femicide accounts for over 30 percent of all murders of women in the city. Whereas, sexual femicide totaled roughly 32 percent. Meaning, more than 60 percent of all murders of women in the city of Juarez alone were as a result of femicide.

But this issue certainly goes beyond a single Mexican city. In fact, femicide is even worse in Honduras than it is in Mexico.

According to a PBS Newshour segment, a baffling 96 percent of cases surrounding the murder of a female in the country go unresolved. Perhaps even more startling, the same segment reported that a woman is killed every 13 minutes in Honduras.

The endemic of femicide in Honduras is driving more women and girls to flee to the U.S. as they continue to fear for their lives in their home country.

And for good reason.

According to a 2015 Small Arms Survey, Honduras ranks third in terms of violent deaths among women. The study found that more women are murdered in Honduras than other nations that struggle with gender equality like Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.

A Washington University study found that more than half of single-traveling women fleeing to the U.S. from Honduras admit to leaving as a result of violence and fear. When families were asked why they escaped Honduras, more than 70 percent gave the same answer — violence.

There is no end in sight for women and girls in Honduras. According to information obtained by Politico and published last week, of over 400 cases of Honduran homicide in 2016, only 15 were investigated and just two resulted in convictions.

It is time that the international community shines a very bright light on the issues of femicide that have been ignored and normalized around the world for decades and take action.

Unfortunately, when the U.S. had the chance to do so, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions declared that acts of gang and domestic violence are not causes for asylum.

If this isn’t what is?

How is the U.S. — which has long considered itself the world’s moral authority — able to dignify violence as a direct result of government leaders as cause for asylum, but a woman or girl who is being habitually abused by an individual while her own government and society turns a blind eye, not good enough of a reason? Especially when it is happening right at our back door?

The U.S. must do more.

Men and women around the world must do more.

And perhaps most importantly, the governments that allow femicide to carry on within their own nation must do more.

It must be made clear that the age of femicide has met its demise before countless other women and girls suffer the same fate.

 

Jesse Stokes is a senior majoring in political science.

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