Femicide is the act of intentionally killing with a gender-related motive. It’s one of the most brutal acts of violence against women and as a society, we cannot ignore it. It’s worrying that in this day and age, we still have so many cases of femicide despite the decades of activism for women’s rights.
According to a UN report, around 48,000 women and girls were killed by their intimate partner or family member in 2022. The report indicates that some of the leading causes of femicide are harmful social norms and stereotyped gender roles.
In Kenya, the rising cases of femicide have exposed how some people view women and the justifications they give for such violence. While many protested and spoke out against these heinous acts, others used stereotypes and discrimination against women to make excuses for them. Here are some of the harmful beliefs that perpetuate femicide and violence against women.
Women are valued as wives, not individuals
Since time immemorial, girls have been told that early marriages are ideal as they make them respectable people in society. Despite evidence indicating that early marriages usually lead to abuse against women, this mentality is still prevalent in today’s society.
A popular Kenyan rapper used his social media platform social media platform to air his thoughts on femicide. He stated that women should get married at 23 years since such women don’t go to clubs and Airbnbs thus reducing the chances of getting killed.
If a man spends money on a woman, she should have sex with him
This is one of the most common reasons people have given for femicide. Some men feel that if they spend money on a woman, she is obligated to sleep with them. Additionally, some argue that if a woman doesn’t want to sleep with a man then she shouldn’t accept being spent on.
This belief has led many men to commit outrageous acts including murder when a woman refuses to sleep with them after gifting them or taking them on dates. However, it’s not a justification for femicide or violence against women since many men spend money on women without expecting sex in return. Additionally, women are still murdered whether or not a man has spent money on them. The Dead Cannot Speak – There Are No Two Sides Of The Ivy Wangeci Story
Men have the right to discipline women
According to research, some people believe that violence is acceptable when men use it to discipline women for failing to deliver on their responsibilities. In some societies, men are given the power to discipline women since they are deemed as the head of the household.
Nonetheless, this belief is not only outdated but also harmful. Due to such beliefs, some men feel like it’s their place to exert dominance over women, whether it’s their wives, relatives or women in general, which often results in physical violence and femicide.
Women should be submissive to men
According to traditional gender norms, women are viewed as passive and men are viewed as leaders. Women are expected to be respectful and submissive to men. While there’s nothing wrong with being respectful, in many cases, women don’t get the same respect in return. It’s taken for granted and rewarded with abuse since many men who expect women to submit to them tend to view them as inferior beings.
Women shouldn’t dress provocatively or go to clubs
Dressing provocatively or going to clubs isn’t a reason for women to get violated or killed. This type of mentality is known as “slut shaming” where people judge women based on the ideas that society has about them. We live in a society that views women not as individuals but rather as properties of men which perpetuates the notion that they shouldn’t have a personality or interests that they enjoy. If women are seen dressing up and having fun, then it’s assumed that they’re doing it for the attention of men and when they don’t reciprocate the attention, it can end badly for them. 6 Black Women Who Advocate For Sex Positivity
Sexual harassment is flirting
Catcalling, groping and other forms of sexual harassment are so common and have been normalized for so long that some people see it as nothing more than harmless flirting. However, flirting and sexual harassment are very different. Flirting is the act of being charming with someone also interested in you while sexual harassment is unwanted sexual behaviour.
Sexual harassment happens due to an imbalance of power and can quickly escalate to sexual violence if nothing is done about it. Most women who are victims of sexual harassment feel like they have to cooperate with their abuser to avoid escalating the issue. Additionally, many don’t report it because they’re scared that people will not believe them or they will be slut shamed. Street harassment – Why you are a part of the problem!
I’m a content writer, bibliophile and travel enthusiast. I have worked in the digital space for over 5 years which has exposed me to a variety of lifestyle topics and peeked my interests in beauty, fashion, travel and wellness.