Wednesday 15 July, 2020

Jamaican women 2nd most vulnerable to domestic killing – UN report

File photo

File photo

Jamaican women are second on the list of those likely to be intentionally killed, mostly by a partner, according to statistics presented by the United Nations.

Countries topping a UN-compiled list of "intentional homicides, female" are mostly in Latin America and Africa, regions which struggle with gang and ethnic warfare, unemployment and deprivation, according to a media report.

Topping the list is El Salvador, with 13.9 out of every 100,000 women murdered in 2017, followed by Jamaica with 11 per 100,000 the same year.

The Central African Republic was third, with 10.4 per 100,000 based on 2016 statistics, followed by South Africa with 9.1 per 100,000 in 2011.

The report noted that the real numbers are likely to be higher, with reports based on whatever data is gathered by national statistical systems that are severely lacking in many countries, especially in Africa and Asia.

Many wars, from in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi to Kosovo and Iraq, are known for the tactic of targeting women, who are raped, beaten, taken as sex slaves, and often killed, as a "weapon of war", said the report.

According to UN statistics, every day in 2017, some 137 women and girls were intentionally killed by their partners or a family member across the world. This means the lives of over 50,000 women are cut short annually by those closest to them, a scourge that has been blamed on deep-rooted gender inequality and damaging stereotypes of women as weaker and less valuable members of society.

Below is an overview of the worldwide killings of women, also called ‘femicide’.

In 2017, some 87,000 women and girls were murdered worldwide, according to a 2018 report of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Of these, 58 per cent had their life taken by someone in their inner circle - 30,000 by their spouse or intimate partner, and another 20,000 by a member of their own family.

The report showed that men were four times more likely than women to fall victim to homicide (they form 80 per cent of all murder victims), but more often than not, died at the hands of a stranger.

Fewer than one in five murdered men were killed by their life partners, compared to 82 per cent for women.

Women in Africa are most likely to be killed by a spouse or family member, with a rate of nearly 70 per cent (19,000 murders), compared to 38 per cent (3,000 murders) in Europe, the region with the smallest share, said the UNODC.

In absolute numbers, Asia had the most severe toll, with 20,000 women killed by a partner or family member in 2017.

The high murder rate among women is said to be a consequence of rampant gender-based violence.

Nearly a third of women who have been in a relationship reported having experienced physical or sexual violence at the hands of their partners, or a non-partner, according to a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

"Many of the victims of 'femicide' are killed by their current and former partners, but they are also killed by fathers, brothers, mothers, sisters and other family members because of their roles and status as women," said the UNODC.

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