Intimate Femicide


Mika Baumeister

Femicide occurs all over the world, but is prevalent in Latin America.

Gender-based violence is often overlooked throughout the world and needs to be focused on in the future. Femicide is a pressing issue throughout the world. The definition states that femicide is violence against women: it ranges from verbal harassment and emotional/verbal abuse to physical and/or sexual abuse, and the killing of women. Femicide involves the intentional murder of women based on their gender and it does include any killings of women and girls. Although most perpetrators are men, occasionally female family members are involved. Femicide differs from male homicide in different ways, most cases of femicide are committed by a partner or ex-partner, and involve ongoing abuse, threats, sexual violence, or unequal balance of power. 

Because police and media; data collection systems that document cases of homicide don’t report motives, or any necessary information about the relationship between the victim and perpetrator, collecting correct data on femicide is challenging in most countries. Because of additional resources, data on femicide has increased worldwide. 

The risk factors of being exposed for femicide are being pregnant, being in an abusive relationship, leaving an abusive relationship, committing adultery, and having children from a previous relationship. Targeted killings are used to ‘send a message. These killings occur with large groups of women, usually girls at school or a church. 

Intimate femicide, or romantic femicide is femicide committed by current or former partners of the woman. Intimate femicide also includes domestic abuse, which widens the proportion of femicides in women. Women are more likely going to be assaulted, raped, or killed by someone they know rather than a stranger. Intimate femicide has the most consequences, surviving children of women killed by partners face losing both parents and have to live in a new environment. Others who face the consequences of femicide include the couple’s children, witnesses, relatives, neighbours, friends, and the victim’s new love interest. 

An ongoing study by WHO and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine shows that more than 35% of all murders of women globally are committed by an intimate partner. On the other hand, men had only 5% of murders committed by an intimate partner. Pregnant women are the most susceptible to intimate femicide. The study also estimates that out of homicides of women and men, around 15% are reported to be committed by an intimate partner. What this study fails to take into account, though, is the reason behind the killings. Evidence shows that most women kill their male partner as an act of self defence against ongoing violence and abuse. A national study from Canada shows us that women are more likely to murder their partner while they are in the relationship, due to an argument, while men are more likely to kill after the relationship, due to jealousy. 

Pregnant women are most susceptible to intimate femicide. An international study on womens health and domestic violence against women, conducted by WHO, shows us that the prevalence of physical violence against a preganant women by a partner range from 1% in Japan to 28% in Peru. a majority of countries ranger from 4%-12%. Demographic and Health Surveys and International Violence against Women Survey found that the prevalence rates of intimate violence ranged from 2% in Australia, Denmark, Cambodia, and Philippines to 13.5% in Uganda. The majority ranging from 4-9%. The highest rates of violence against pregnant women are in Egypt with 32%, India with 28%, Saudi Arabia with 21%, and Mexico with 11%. Clinical studies from Africa reports rates of femicide for pregnant women range from 23-40% for physical, 3-27% for sexual, and 25-49% for emotional abuse.