#16Days: Erasing The Victims of Men’s Violence

We hear the statistic so frequently. In the UK, two women a week are killed by a current or former partner, and in most cases, there is documented proof of abuse in the relationship.

As a quick note, non-abusive men do not kill their former or current partners. Non-abusive men do not use intimidation or threats against women’s lives to ensure their wishes are met. Just because abuse isn’t documented in some of these murders, doesn’t mean it didn’t exist. It merely wasn’t recorded. So when people tell me a man who has murdered his current or former partner was ‘such a nice guy’, I call bullshit.

But the two women a week statistic is a lie. These statistics aren’t being exaggerated, or overestimated, much as those who hate women would like to claim otherwise. Instead, they ignore 60 – 83% of domestic violence related deaths.

On Monday, an acquaintance of mine raised the subject of suicides in relation to domestic abuse; an area which seems to be largely ignored. I found a statistic that sent me reeling into a state of shock; that 30 women a day attempt suicide in order to escape domestic violence. For those who were wondering, that works out to 210 a week, or 480 during the 16 Days of Activism.

Of those 210 attempts each week, between 3 and 10 women successfully commit suicide. I’ve found conflicting statistics, with Enfield’s Health and Wellbeing service stating the higher number. [x] Yet these women’s deaths are largely ignored when measuring the extent of men’s violence against women. Men may actively kill two women a week, but their violence is factored in to at least five deaths nationally a week. We serve the victims of men’s violence no justice if we ignore those killed by suicide.

We need better discussion around the invisible fatalities of men’s violence. We need for women to know that there is support out there; not just in relation to domestic violence, but with regards to suicide and helping these women to survive. We need for those involved in helping women who are experiencing domestic violence, or who have done in the past, to be aware of the number of women who attempt suicide daily. We need those who help victims and survivors of domestic abuse to know the warning signs in relation to suicide,and for them to receive training in how to help women who are contemplating suicide. And we need to hold men accountable when their violence is a factor in a woman’s attempt to take her own life, whether she survives the attempt or not.

But most of all, we need to give these women hope. And we need to let them know that they are not alone.

Further reading:

Refuge: Taking Lives campaign –
http://refuge.org.uk/takinglives/

Enfield Health and Well-Being: Domestic Violence – http://www.enfield.gov.uk/healthandwellbeing/info/15/enfield_place/187/domestic_violence

Rape Victim calls for law change as three women a week commit suicide to escape violent partners –
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/rape-victim-calls-law-change-2644286

Domestic Violence, Forced Marriage and ‘Honour’ Based Violence –
Volume 2

Victim’s suicide leads to fight for new law-
http://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/Victim-s-suicide-leads-fight-new-law/story-19996117-detail/story.html

Refuge call for 16 days of fundraising against domestic violence –
http://www.feministtimes.com/refuge-calls-for-16-days-of-fundraising-against-domestic-violence/

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The Return of The Dragon

As a lot of you will be aware, I’ve been rather inactive of late. I would offer an apology, but I’ve had more important things to deal with. Even real-life contacts have seen and heard less from me, with the exception of my sister-in-law and a very small group of friends.

In addition, I couldn’t help but feel a little disenchanted; a moment I suspect every feminist from every wave has had at some point. Maybe I’ve been oblivious over the past few years, but the summer in particular seemed to spurn a lot of women against each other. I found it necessary to withdraw somewhat, for my own well-being.

I’ve not ceased writing, nor anything with regards to feminism. I have, however, been writing elsewhere, albeit intermittently. But I have also been focusing on my fiction writing, and have probably written more in the past four months alone than I have in the past ten years.

I shall be attempting to resurrect this blog. It will take time, and I’m not naive enough to believe otherwise. But returning to this is something I feel I need to do. Not for anyone else, but in one of the first entirely selfish decisions I’ve made in a long time, for myself and myself alone.