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GOVERNMENTS AND HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCACY GROUPS NEED TO GO BEYOND THE HEADLINES: ANALYZING THE ROOT CAUSES AND GLOBAL TRENDS OF GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE AND FEMICIDE

Kiara Alexander, Lucrezia Taddei, Agathe Labadi

Elena Alice Rossetti, Editor; Jennifer Loy, Chief Editor

January 6, 2024


Cape Town Anti-Femicide Demonstration[1]


Summary

Young women face an increasing threat of experiencing violence from an intimate partner or family member. Based on data quantity, validity, and verification, the Counterterrorism Group (CTG) assesses that young women worldwide very likely face risks of experiencing gender-based violence escalating to murder from intimate partners or family members, rather than random attacks from unknown perpetrators.[2] Patriarchal influences are strongly linked to the rise in gender-based violence worldwide.


Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) varies in extremity per case, but extended periods of violence  are very likely to result in femicide. Exhibited behaviors like jealousy and control are often indicators that violence is likely to erupt between the two parties. Recurring violence can very likely result in murder, either intentionally or accidentally. Femicide is almost certainly linked to societal and cultural norms of valuing men over women.[3] 


An alternative assessment considers legal systems rather than cultural norms as a stronger contributing factor in manifesting violence. The legal system and the security forces upholding the law are likely to influence the level of violence. Gender-based violence poses a significant security concern as it endangers fundamental human rights, fostering a cycle of violence to occur within each region. Victims of gender-based violence will likely develop unsafe relationships since living under violence might lead them to normalize violent behaviors or perceive them as a deserved punishment.


Threat Description

The predominant threat is IPV against women, manifesting primarily as femicide. Global incidents show that the perpetrator is often a current or former intimate partner. The evidence indicates a pattern where IPV escalates from controlling behaviors and jealousy to lethal violence. The analysis reveals that the escalation of violence in intimate relationships often follows a trajectory beginning with emotional abuse and control, progressing to physical violence, and, in the most extreme cases, ending in femicide. Complex relationships, combined with social stigma and inadequate support systems, often leave victims vulnerable and isolated. Societal norms and cultural traditions that propagate male dominance and entitlement over women exacerbate these situations, creating environments where society does not notice or purposefully ignore gender-based violence.


IPV and femicide incidents are notably higher in global regions where legal systems are weak, under-resourced, or biased against women. This correlation suggests that ineffective legal and judicial systems not only fail to deter perpetrators but may also encourage them, since they know the likelihood of facing the consequences is low. It is important to acknowledge that this assessment stems from available data, which may not uniformly cover all regions or account for unreported cases. Therefore, while the evidence points towards a significant relationship between legal system efficacy and gender-based violence, this assessment presents a moderate confidence level. Strengthening legal systems and law enforcement practices emerges as a critical area for intervention to protect women from violence.


The primary hypothesis is that the root cause of this violence extends beyond the dynamics of individual relationships and derives from deep societal and cultural norms. Patriarchal values, which foster male dominance and control over women, are pervasive and influence behaviors across all levels of society. Such norms not only condone but sometimes encourage violence as a controlling or punishing tool against women who defy traditional roles. This perspective suggests that the solution lies in a fundamental shift of societal attitudes, requiring extensive education and awareness campaigns to challenge and change deep-rooted patriarchal beliefs.


Another alternative hypothesis considers that systemic and legal system failures play a more significant role in perpetuating gender-based violence than previously acknowledged. The lack of effective legal protections, inadequate law enforcement response, and a judicial system that often fails to prioritize women’s safety contribute to a culture of impunity for perpetrators. This viewpoint implies that even if societal attitudes were to change, the threat to women's safety would persist without a corresponding overhaul of the legal and institutional frameworks.The hypothesis suggests that comprehensive legal reforms, better resource allocation for women's safety, and a more proactive approach by law enforcement agencies are critical in effectively addressing the threat.



Threat Development


AFRICOM (African continent):[4]


Date: June 4, 2020

Location: Roodepoort, South Africa

Victim: Tshegofatso Pule, 28

Threat: The victim was pregnant with the perpetrator's child, but the perpetrator did not want to become a father.

Outcome: The victim was shot and hung on a tree, the perpetrator was arrested and is serving 20 years in prison.[5] 


Date: Early October 2020

Location: Thenia, Algiers, Algeria

Victim: Chaïma, 19

Threat: The body of the young woman, identified as Chaima, was found in early October at a deserted petrol station in Thenia, 80 kilometers east of the capital Algiers. She had been beaten, raped, and burned alive, local media reported.

Outcome: The suspect, who has reportedly confessed, is being charged with "rape and voluntary homicide with premeditation and ambush, using torture." Chaïma was raped by the same suspect in 2016. She denounced her aggressor, but the case was dropped.[6]


Date: June 20, 2022

Location: Manosura, Egypt

Victim: Naira Ashraf, 21

Threat: The perpetrator proposed to the victim, but she rejected the proposal. He sent her text messages threatening to slit her throat.

Outcome: The victim was stabbed multiple times and had her throat slit. The perpetrator has been arrested.[7] 


Date: January 21, 2023

Location: Bujumbura, Burundi

Victim: Aline Inarukundo, N/A

Threat: Her alleged murderer is her husband, Claude Arakaza.

Outcome: Her burial was delayed for 47 days, as a result of a fight/argument between her family and in-laws over the arrest of Arakaza. Women’s rights groups pressured the Attorney General to authorize her funeral.[8] 


Date: November 24, 2023

Location: Al-Klakla, Khartoum State, Sudan

Victims: Minors, 13 and 15

Threat: D (15) and O (13), were forcibly abducted by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) from their makeshift residence in the Safa neighborhood of Al-Klakla in Khartoum State.

Outcome: Eyewitnesses recount that RSF soldiers stormed the house, seizing the girls under the pretext that they were “needed.” The distraught mother, crying and screaming, was powerless as the armed forces threatened and terrorized those present. Despite concerted efforts by a network of family and friends, D and O remain missing days after the abduction.[9]


CENTCOM (Middle East and Central Asia):[10]


Date: May 14, 2020

Location: North Waziristan, Pakistan

Victims: Two sisters, 16 and 18

Threat: A video of two girls kissing a boy was posted online prompting a tribal leader to call for the punishment of the victims.

Outcome: Both victims were shot and killed by their father and brother which is being described as an honor killing. The father, brother, and the videographer have been arrested.[11] 


Date: May 2022

Location: Punjab Province, Pakistan

Victims: Arooj Abbas and Aneesa Abbas, N/A

Threat: The sisters were forced to marry their cousins and take them to Spain to live with them. The sisters wanted to divorce their husbands which prompted threats from their family.

Outcome: The sisters were tortured and shot dead by family members. The sisters' husbands, uncle, and two brothers have been arrested.[12]


Date: January 31, 2023

Location: Diwanyah, Iraq

Victim: Tiba Ali, 22

Threat: The victim was living in Turkey with her boyfriend working as a YouTuber, her father did not agree with her lifestyle.

Outcome: The victim’s father strangled her while she was asleep. The father turned himself into the authorities.[13]


Date: November 9, 2023

Location: Astana, Kazakhstan

Victim: Saltanat Nukenova, 31

Threat: The perpetrator and victim were dining in a private room at a restaurant when the perpetrator struck the victim in the head multiple times. Due to the high political status of the perpetrator and his family, much is unknown about this case.

Outcome: The victim allegedly was kept in the restaurant to die slowly before an ambulance was called. The perpetrator was arrested.[14]


Date: November 30, 2023

Location: Lod, Israel

Victim: Aya Abu Hajjaj, N/A

Threat: The pregnant victim was walking her two kids to kindergarten when a man pounced on her and stabbed her.

Outcome: The victim and her unborn child did not survive the attack, and the victim’s father and brother were arrested on suspicion of their involvement.[15]


EUCOM (Europe):


Date: January 24, 2022

Location: Maida Vale, England

Victim: Yasmin Chkaifi, 43

Threat: The perpetrator, Leon McCaskie killed Yasmin Chkaifi after a history of abusive and stalking behavior. McCaskie had previously breached a restraining order that was put in place against him, indicating a continued pattern of harassment and abuse towards the victim.

Outcome: The victim was stabbed to death by an ex-partner.[16]


Date:  May 16, 2022

Location: Athens, Greece

Victim: Caroline Crouch, 20

Threat: The victim was killed by her husband, Babis Anagnostopoulos, a 34-year-old Greek helicopter pilot.

Outcome: The victim was murdered in her home in Athens, with her husband confessing to the crime after initially fabricating a story about a violent burglary. The case, which also involved the killing of the couple's dog, garnered significant attention in Greece, particularly because it occurred while their baby daughter was in the house. Anagnostopoulos was arrested and found guilty of premeditated murder.[17]


Date: September 15, 2022

Location: Mont-Saint-Martin, France

Victim: Diana Santos, 40

Threat: The victim recently moved to Diekirch and was found dead.

Outcome: The victim was found brutally murdered and dismembered [18]


Date: December 7, 2022

Location: Bonnevoie, Luxembourg

Victim: Diana Martins Cachapa, 32

Threat: The victim was subjected to a deadly attack in her apartment.

Outcome: The victim was found dismembered and mutilated.[19]


Date: May 27, 2023

Location: Milan, Italy

Victim: Giulia Tramontano, 29

Threat: The victim was eight months pregnant, she suffered from 37 stab wounds, including two fatal ones to the neck, one of which severed her carotid artery. The wounds were concentrated in the upper part of her body, with one in the face and another piercing a lung.

Outcome: Her boyfriend Alessandro Impagnatiello was arrested.[20]


Date:  June 16, 2023

Location: Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

Victim: A 21-year-old woman (believed to be a US tourist)

Threat: Physical attack resulting in being thrown from a hill

Outcome: The 21-year-old victim died from her injuries after being shoved into a gorge. A 22-year-old woman, who tried to intervene, was seriously injured and hospitalized. A 30-year-old US man was detained over the attack and is under investigation for murder, attempted murder and attempted sexual assault.[21]


Date: November 11, 2023

Location: Pordenone, Italy

Victim: Giulia Cecchettin, 22

Threat: The perpetrator, Filippo Turetta, murdered Giulia Cecchettin due to feelings of humiliation and inferiority following their breakup and her academic achievements.

Outcome: The victim was murdered through stabbing in the head and neck. Filippo Turetta was arrested after he fled to Germany. He ran out of gas and money, leading to his apprehension by the authorities.[22]


Date: November 29, 2023

Location: Pristina, Kosovo

Victim: Liridona Ademaj, 30

Threat: The case was initially reported as a robbery that resulted in murder, but later investigations revealed that her husband had planned the crime and paid a hitman to kill her.

Outcome: The authorities have not disclosed the motives for the crime or the legal consequences following the murder of Liridona Ademaj. The immediate societal response was a public protest in Pristina, where people demanded more robust actions against gender-based violence. The legal and judicial proceedings, including the sentencing of the husband, were not specified.[23]


Date: December 26, 2023

Location: Paris, France

Victims: Mother and Children, 35, 4, 7, and 10

Threat: The victims, a 35-year-old woman and her children were found deceased in their home on Christmas Day, following alerts from concerned friends and family.

Outcome: The husband had a history of psychiatric illness. In 2019, he attacked his partner and attempted suicide but was released as he was deemed "mentally deficient. He was arrested for the murder of his wife and children. [24] 


Date: January 2, 2024

Location: Sant'Oreste, Rome, Italy

Victim: 71-year-old woman

Threat: She was brought to a hospital in Civita Castellana by her husband, who claimed she fell down the stairs in their home in Sant'Oreste. However, the medical professionals observed that her wounds were inconsistent with such a fall, prompting them to alert the authorities

Outcome: The husband has been taken in for questioning, and his involvement or culpability is under scrutiny.[25]


NORTHCOM (North America):


Date: February 9, 2020

Location: Mexico City (CDMX), Mexico

Victim: Ingrid Escamilla, 25

Threat: She was killed by her partner, who skinned her from her face to her knees with a kitchen knife, and threw away some of her organs. The murderer’s son was a witness of the crime. In 2019, she denounced violence from her murderer but she didn't pursue the legal process.

Outcome: In October 2023, her murderer was condemned to 70 years of prison. Images of her barefaced body were leaked on social media and media. Her case initiated the creation of a law of image protection, which is named after her.[26] 


Date: December 29, 2020

Location: Puebla, Mexico

Victim: Yatziri, 7

Threat: The 7-year-old girl suffered intrafamilial violence, including mistreatment and sexual abuse. She was physically and mentally drained, asking nurses and doctors to let her die. Her sister also died months ago without any further investigations.

Outcome: She died after four months in a hospital. She had an unusable lung and internal stomach hemorrhage following years of violence. Her sister and Yatziri were often in the hospital and their case has supposedly been known by the local authorities since 2019.[27] 


Date: January 3, 2022

Location: Tenextepec, Puebla, Mexico

Victim: Liliana Lozada, 33

Threat: She was killed after going to a party.

Outcome: She was found dead and her body was in a state of decomposition. Nobody was arrested and charged for her murder.[28]


Date: April 21, 2022

Location: Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico

Victim: Debanhi Susana Escobar Bazaldua, 18

Threat: She disappeared and the last proof of her being alive was a photo of her alone on the side of a highway. The taxi driver supposedly asked her to get out of his vehicle and took this picture. Surveillance camera footage suggested the driver touched Debanhi inappropriately, likely starting an argument between them.[29] 

Outcome: Her body was found in a motel water tank after nearly two weeks in the water. The district attorney's office of the state of Nuevo Leon had committed multiple errors, slowing the investigation.[30]


Date: May 21, 2022

Location: Mexico City, Mexico

Victim: Cecilia Monzon, 37

Threat: She was a lawyer specializing in women/gender rights. Her murder was ordered by Javier Lopez Zavala, who is a political figure, former Ministry of Interior/Secretary of government, and father of her son.[31] Two men on motorcycles fired a gun multiple times, killing her instantly.[32]

Outcome: Her law was created to avoid child custody by the family of the perpetrator/woman murderer.[33]


Date: June 27, 2022

Location: Chichiquila, Puebla, Mexico

Victim: Brenda N, 4

Threat: The four-year-old girl was abducted by three men. Her relatives searched for her hours before finding her dead in the street.

Outcome: Three men abused and killed the girl near her house. Her body was found by her aunt.[34]


Date: June 27, 2022

Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Victim: Anne-Marie Ready, 50, Jasmine Ready, 15, and Catherine Ready, 19

Threat: Joshua Graves, the next-door neighbor, had a romantic interest in one of the victims, but he was rejected and asked to avoid contact. Days before the attack, he was released for sexual assault and stalking another woman.

Outcome: The perpetrator stabbed the three victims in their house, killing Anne-Marie and Jasmine instantly. Catherine survived the injuries. The tragedy inspired the Canadian government, advocacy groups, and local authorities to include the term “femicide” in the Criminal Code of Canada.[35] 


Date: September 11, 2022

Location: Walled Lake, Michigan, USA

Victims: Tina Lanis, 56, and Rachel Lanis, 25

Threat: Igor Lanis, Tina’s husband and Rachel’s father, shot multiple times in the back, and the family dog, killing them instantly. He has wounded Rachel, who called 911 to denounce his father’s acts. The law enforcement arrive at the family’s house finding the perpetrator in the front door, killing him during the gunfight. Rachel was transported to the hospital, saving her life. Tina and the dog were found dead inside the house.

Outcome: The authorities find unclear the reasons for the killings. Nevertheless, Rebecca Lanis, his other daughter who wasn’t present during the accident, highlighted her father’s mental health state and his Extremist ideology. She considered that his acts were influenced by conspiracy theories and online radicalization.[36] 


Date: October 31, 2022

Location: Morelos, Mexico

Victim: Ariadna Fernanda, 27

Threat: Before her disappearance, she was last seen in a bar in Mexico City. Her trail was lost after she took a taxi. Her body was found by cyclists along the highway, who uploaded pictures on social media. The Attorney’s Office of the State of Morelos primarily announced her death was from ethylic coma rather than femicide. After public pressure, surveillance camera footage shows she went to an apartment but did not show when she left. Her murderer was recorded with a dead body entering his car.

Outcome: Multiple versions/investigation results were released by the authorities of the State of Morelos and the State of Mexico creating flaws, doubts, and a lack of understanding. Two suspects were arrested, who were at the bar with the victim. A new autopsy has confirmed the femicide. The attorney general of the State of Morelos was also charged for faults during the investigation.[37] 


Date: May 19, 2023

Location: Brampton, Ontario, Canada

Victim: ​​Davinder Kaur, 43

Threat: The victim was looking to divorce her husband, who left six months before her murderer. They decided to meet in Sparrow Park, warning her brother about it.

Outcome: She was stabbed to death and died at the scene. Despite her 911 call for medical assistance, the emergency crew arrived too late. Her husband was located two kilometers away. He appeared in the courtroom the following day, charged with first-degree murder.[38] 


Date: October 24, 2023

Location: Hueyapan de Ocampo, Veracruz, Mexico

Victim: Ruth Ailin Medina Martinez, 19

Threat: She gave birth 4 days ago and was the mother of another 4 years old child. Her partner was violent and even during her pregnancy. He also used drugs and threatened her.

Outcome: They were arguing after she asked to go to the doctor. After a moment, he fired his weapon in her head, which killed her hours later.[39]


Date: October 31, 2023

Location: Katy, Texas, USA

Victim: Nityadevi Ramroop, 35

Threat: She was getting divorced from her murderer. She was afraid of her estranged husband and feared for her life with the divorce trial coming up. Some of his friends alarmed her about her husband’s strange behaviors and words. Her attorney highlighted Nityadevi’s efforts to protect her children and herself. She has called the police at least four times but they considered they could not do anything. She believed she was followed and stalked by him. She only received an order of protection one week before the murder, which she feared would change nothing.

Outcome: Nityadevi’s husband shot her in the driveway and killed himself shortly after.[40] 


PACOM (Asia and the Pacific):


Date: March 3, 2021

Location: Hardoi District, Uttar Pradesh, India

Victim: N/A, 17

Threat: Sarvesh Kumar allegedly killed his daughter, because she was having an affair with a man he did not approve.3

Outcome: The father beheaded the girl at home and was arrested while walking with her head.[41]


Date: January 11, 2022

Location: Singapore

Victim: Isabel Elizabeth Francis, 30

Threat: The victim was pregnant. She was killed during her sleep by her husband who felt it was the only way out of his work issues and dishonour. After the murder, he tried to kill himself without any luck and decided to call the police to confess his crime.

Outcome: She was stabbed multiple times in her head, neck, abdomen, and back.[42]


Date: August 30, 2022

Location: Jharkhand State, India

Victim: Ankita, 19

Threat: The victim was killed by a local man who began stalking her after she rejected his marriage proposal. The threats escalated to a violent attack where she was doused in kerosene and set on fire while sleeping.

Outcome: The victim succumbed to her injuries after six days of hospital treatment. Her tragic death led to significant public outrage and protests demanding justice. In response to the incident, police in Jharkhand state formed a special investigative unit and arrested the alleged perpetrator, the man who stalked her and carried out the attack. His arrest has sparked a debate on the severity of punishment, with local groups calling for the death penalty. [43]


Date: September 14, 2022

Location: Seoul, South Korea

Victim: N/A, 28

Threat: The victim was murdered in a public bathroom by Jeon Joo-hwan, the man who had stalked and threatened her for over two years.

Outcome: Authorities sentenced Jeon Joo-hwan to 40 years in jail for her killing. The case sparked public resentment since the police did not manage to stop the stalker, deemed as “low-risk,” and calls for the strengthening of anti-stalker legislation.[44] 


Date: May 28, 2023

Location: Rohini, Delhi, India

Victim:  Sakshi, 16

Threat: Sahil stabbed to death his 16-year-old ex-girlfriend the day after they had a discussion. Allegedly, he was angry after she decided to break up and she did not want to talk with him.  

Outcome: Sahil stabbed Sakshi 20 times on a busy Delhi road, killing her. The police arrested Sahil.[45] 

Date: August 19, 2023

Location: Gurgaon, India

Victim: Anjali, 22

Threat: The victim was killed by her own family due to her inter-caste marriage, which they opposed.

Outcome: The victim was strangled to death by her family, who then burnt her body to conceal the crime. The Gurgaon Police arrested her parents, Kuldeep and Rinki, and her brother, Kunal, for their involvement in the murder. The police are also investigating the role of Kunal’s wife in the incident. [46]


Date: October 11, 2023

Location: Bokakhat, Assam, India

Victim: a minor girl, N/A

Threat: A minor girl went missing. A 50-year-old man was arrested for the disappearance and murder of a girl.

Outcome: He confessed he raped and killed her fearing she would talk. Her body was found where the murderer admitted.[47] 


Date: October 26, 2023

Location: Sydney, Australia

Victim: Lilie James, 21

Threat: Lilie’s body was found in the bathroom of the school she taught. Her presumptuous murderer was her former boyfriend, another school teacher. CCTV shows him following her in the bathroom. He made a call to the authorities and then disappeared. He was found dead a day after Lilie.  

Outcome: She died due to head injuries.[48] 


Date: December 18, 2023

Location: Malaysia

Victim: Koh Chea Ling, 26

Threat: Authorities discovered a dead woman in a car. She had been stubbed.

Outcome: Authorities arrested the boyfriend of the victim, Khoo Choon Heng, 44, and charged him with murder. [49]


Date: January 1, 2024

Location: Adelaide, Australia

Victim: Melissa Hoskins, 32

Threat: Rohan Dennis, her husband a former world champion cyclist, who was charged in connection with her death following a vehicle-related incident.

Outcome: The victim suffered serious injuries and passed away after being struck by a vehicle driven by Rohan Dennis. He was charged with causing death by dangerous driving, endangering life, and driving without due care and has been released on bail pending a court appearance.[50]


SOUTHCOM Central America, South America, and the Caribbean):


Date: April 10, 2022

Location: Lima, Peru

Victim: Maribel C.T., N/A

Threat: Victim was stabbed 20 times at her place of employment because she did not want to get back together with her former partner, the perpetrator.

Outcome: The victim survived the attack, and the perpetrator is now in jail.[51] 


Date: January 16, 2023

Location: Samborondon, Ecuador

Victim: Norma Solis, 43

Threat: The perpetrator was her partner who had a history of domestic violence against the victim

Outcome: The victim was murdered by strangulation. The suspect was still at large at the time of the report.[52]


Date: February 1, 2023

Location: Bogotá, Colombia

Victim: Valentina Trespalacios, 21

Threat: The victim was killed by her American boyfriend, John Nelson Poulos, who has been accused of her murder under circumstances indicating a calculated and deliberate act.

Outcome: The victim was found deceased, her body hidden in a suitcase. John Nelson Poulos was charged with femicide and concealing evidence, leading to his arrest and ongoing legal proceedings in Colombia.[53]


Date: March 18, 2023

Location: Lima, Peru

Victim: Katherine Gomez, 18

Threat: She broke up with her boyfriend days before her femicide.

Outcome: Her ex-boyfriend set her on fire alive in a central square of the Peruvian capital, burning 60% of her body. She was admitted to the hospital and died 6 days later. The perpetrator flew the scene of the crime to Colombia, where he was arrested on April 12, 2023. An Interpol red notice was issued for his arrest. His trial will be in Peru after his transfer.[54] 


Date: May 7, 2023

Location: Chalchuapa, El Salvador

Victims: Jacquelinne Palomo Lima, 26, and her mother (unidentified)

Threat: Victims were lured by Hugo Osorio to his home on the basis that he had information regarding a missing family member. Osorio told police he purposefully preys on poor women and girls.

Outcome: The victims were beaten to death and their bodies were found at Osorio’s house along with the remains of the missing family member and fourteen other bodies. Osorio has been arrested and charged with two counts of femicide and two counts of homicide.[55] 


Date: July 16, 2023

Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Victim: Vanesa Evangelina Gil, 38

Threat: The perpetrator, Marcos Manuel Miletti, had a history of abuse against his partner as he was arrested for sexually assaulting and threatening to kill Gil in 2022. Miletti was released shortly after his arrest and was sentenced to three years in prison, but subsequently had his sentence suspended. A no-contact order was in place, but it expired at the end of 2022.

Outcome: After an argument, the victim was murdered by being stabbed multiple times in the chest. The perpetrator has since been arrested.[56] 


Date: October 9, 2023

Location: Puerto Boyaca, Colombia

Victim: Unidentified victim, 19

Threat: After the victim, the perpetrator’s ex-partner, moved on to a new relationship, in an act of jealousy the perpetrator stabbed the victim 32 times.

Outcome: The victim survived the attack, and the perpetrator is now in jail.[57]


Date: November 11, 2023

Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Victim: Diana Zoe Lopez Garcia, N/A

Threat: An owner of a hotel aimed at providing shelter to trans women fleeing violence was stabbed by her partner who posted about the attack on Facebook.

Outcome: The victim died due to stab wounds, and the perpetrator who has a history of sexual assault charges was arrested.[58]


Date: December 26, 2023

Location: Medellin, Colombia

Victim: Evelin Mesa, 38

Threat: The victim was arguing with her partner Julio César Ruiz Restrepo.

Outcome: Ruiz Restrepo shot Mesa, killing her, and then he shot himself.[59]


Date: December 28, 2023

Location: San Juan del Cesar, La Guajira, Colombia

Victim: Bernardina Gil Izquierdo, 5

Threat: The indigenous girl was transported from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta  to La Junta, and found dead at her arrival, with hematomas on her head and face.

Outcome: The Colombian authorities are still investigating the case. However, the alleged perpetrator is her stepfather, who disappeared. A Colombian Commission for the Protection of Women and Children is working with the indigenous community.[60]


Date: January 2, 2024

Location: Bucaramanga, Colombia

Victim: Estefany Pulido, 40

Threat: Estefany and her partner were arguing until the situation escalated by him throwing a knife.

Outcome: She was stabbed by her boyfriend in a motel, with at least 5 stab wounds in the face and chest. The crime’s witness succeeded in stopping him until law enforcement arrived on the scene.[61] 


Analysis

Gender-based violence often manifests itself in different forms, but recurring data shows women are most at risk with close relationships. Despite the regional differences in data, women largely face a threat from their intimate partner. It is not a coincidence that a pattern of gender-based violence emerges across the globe as women are almost certainly considered less than equal to men in many cultural contexts. The persistence of this trend globally almost certainly suggests a deeper, systemic issue rooted in how societies perceive and value women. This inequality very likely manifests itself as control, abuse, and violence, reflecting a misuse of power and inherent trust in intimate partnerships. States' response is likely part of the problem through the impunity, cultural impact, “normalization,” and use of this type of violence for political purposes. Are all countries striving to stop gender-based violence or controlling the message for political campaigns and international image?


Perpetrators known by the victim will likely target the woman based on her lifestyle and history. Many perpetrators have a history of violence that will very likely manifest in their intimate partner relationships. Femicides will very likely happen after a long history of violence or a trigger event like a perceived loss of control over the women or a break-up offsets the perpetrator. Perpetrators with no familial or intimate bonds with the victims will likely choose the victim only based on their gender and vulnerabilities. Women are often the target of violence during vulnerable situations/moments, or when their behaviors hurt the perpetrators’ feelings. Secluded/private spaces, illegal substance use, and alcohol will likely increase the risk of violence.


The causes of widespread threats against women and femicides are multifaceted and almost certainly deeply ingrained in societal structures. Patriarchal ideologies, which are often deeply rooted in cultural norms and traditions, very likely contribute significantly to the perpetuation of gender-based violence. One key element of patriarchal thinking is the reinforcement of traditional gender roles, which almost certainly describes men as dominant, assertive, and in control while confining women to submissive and nurturing roles. This power dynamic can very likely lead to a sense of entitlement among some individuals, who may resort to violence to exert control and maintain dominance over women.


Patriarchal societies very likely uphold rigid gender norms and stereotypes, prescribing specific behaviors and expectations for individuals based on their gender. All cited cases highlight the prevalence of hypermasculinity as a primary catalyst for femicide, linking the dominant norm of conforming to an idealized manhood’s image with violent control over women. Violated and challenged norms can provoke hostile reactions, sometimes escalating to violence. For instance, women who assert their independence challenge traditional gender roles, or pursue opportunities outside the established norms may become targets of aggression.


The control of women's bodies is another manifestation of patriarchal thinking. This control is evident in practices such as domestic violence, honor killings, and restrictions on reproductive rights. The belief that men have the right to dictate women's choices and actions can escalate into extreme forms of violence, including femicide.[62] The normalization of gender-based violence within patriarchal societies very likely creates a culture of impunity. Inadequate legal and institutional frameworks, along with societal attitudes that downplay or dismiss such violence, very likely contribute to an environment where perpetrators feel they can act without fearing consequences.


Addressing these issues requires a comprehensive approach that challenges patriarchal norms, promotes gender equality, and ensures that legal systems are robust in holding perpetrators accountable. It involves changing cultural attitudes through education, fostering awareness of the damaging effects of gender-based violence, and creating support systems for survivors. Advocacy for policy changes that protect women's rights and address the root causes of femicides is crucial to dismantle perpetual/structural threats against women.


An overarching theme of femicide and gender-based violence is almost certainly about control and a man’s lack of control over the actions and opinions of the affected woman. The loss of control of a situation, whether or not the woman wants to engage in sexual relations or be in a relationship among many other factors, can heavily influence the threat of violence for a woman. Through the loss of control, rage can take over a perpetrator’s judgment fueling an attack. Rage and jealousy together can contribute to transforming a threat into an attack: If a woman gets into a relationship with a different man, the jealousy a man may feel can cause an attack as the possessive and territorial nature can trigger violence. The last main motive provided in the data set above is related to the idea of honor and how it matters for a family dynamic. Honor killings are prominent across the world in different locales, but the CENTCOM region deals with a higher number of cases since upholding cultural and traditional norms is important for the reputation of the family.


AFRICOM - Most cases resulted in the perpetrator’s arrest, except for the above-mentioned case in Sudan where there has been no resolution. Intersecting factors such as IPV, child marriage, bride-price, and witchcraft contribute to high levels of violence in this region. In more fragile and conflict-ridden African contexts, laws tackling gender-based violence are scarce and the social landscape is marked by various forms of violence stemming from war, trauma, bride price, female genital mutilation (FGM), religious extremism, poverty, and climate-related food insecurity. Existing laws often focus on curtailing armed actors’ actions rather than addressing the broader societal triggers for gender-based violence.[63]


CENTCOM - In all cases, authorities arrested the perpetrators. However, in articles explaining the situations, the writers note that many cases of femicide within the region go unreported or unpunished because of a family’s reluctance to corroborate with law enforcement regarding honor killings. Cultural and traditional norms very likely still dominate many remote regions' political arenas posing a challenge for change needed to protect women from family dynamics.


EUCOM - A distinct pattern emerges, the majority involve perpetrators known to the victims, often intimate partners, demonstrating a risk in domestic settings. Many cases involved elements of stalking, prolonged harassment, or breaches of restraining orders. The outcomes varied, with most perpetrators being apprehended and likely facing serious legal repercussions. These incidents very likely demonstrate an urgent need for stronger protective measures and legal responses to domestic violence and stalking. They likely suggest a trend towards more effective handling and increased awareness of such crimes, likely leading to enhanced safety protocols and support for victims.


NORTHCOM - This region regroups all forms of femicides. Mexico is one of the most violent countries for women. Disappearances, street violence, physical and sexual assaults, and murders are common. Women of all ages, communities, social classes, and physical appearances could be victims of violence. Persecutors will likely be relatives or strangers who take advantage of the victim’s vulnerability. The USA and Canada have seen an increment in honor killings likely a result of immigration and violence against indigenous communities.


PACOM - Femicides in this region differ largely from one country to another. In Asia, femicides are likely honor killings or murder and sexual assault by strangers in the victim’s vulnerable situation. We observe revenge and crimes of passion by former partners and close relatives. Gender-based violence is increasing significantly in the PACOM region with a different level of impunity based on the country's laws and law enforcement resources.


SOUTHCOM - In almost all cases noted, authorities have arrested the perpetrators. Based on the significant problem of femicide within this region, many countries have enacted stronger laws and prison sentences with a roughly even chance for a positive change. Chile, specifically, has enacted progressive policies to help the children affected by femicide as their mother is dead and their father is most likely incarcerated.


Threat Assessment

In the data provided, a significant proportion of women who either fell victim to murder or survived attempted murder, were young women. This demographic trend almost certainly highlights specific vulnerabilities women face in their early adult years. Young women often found themselves in harmful situations with intimate partners or family members, where factors like seeking independence, relationship dynamics, or simply their age and associated life changes very likely contributed to their victimization. The data predominantly features young adult women as victims, a demographic typically ranging from late teens to early thirties. Significant transitions - entering or completing higher education, starting careers, and forming serious romantic relationships - characterize this life stage. These transitions very likely place young women in vulnerable positions, especially when they challenge traditional gender roles or assert independence in ways that conflict with patriarchal norms. For example, a woman excelling academically or professionally might provoke feelings of insecurity or loss of control in an abusive partner. A recurring element in these cases is the nature of the relationship between the victim and perpetrator. Often, the perpetrator is an intimate partner or ex-partner. The dynamics of control and possessiveness are more pronounced in relationships involving young adults, possibly based on less experience in managing relationship conflicts or recognizing early signs of abusive behavior. Across all regions, future incidents of gender-based violence will very likely occur, particularly domestic violence. Relationships with a history of abuse or controlling behavior are very likely at risk. The pandemic has significantly increased domestic violence’s risk worldwide. Lockdowns and social restrictions have intensified household tensions and isolated victims from their support networks, leading to an uptick in reported cases. Societal attitudes towards women, particularly young women, play a significant role. In many cases, the victims faced violence for defying cultural expectations such as refusing arranged marriages, pursuing education or careers, or ending relationships. The stigma attached to leaving a relationship or reporting abuse can also deter young women from seeking help, leaving them more vulnerable to escalating violence.


This pattern very likely suggests a progression of violence, often growing from less severe forms of abuse to more serious, sometimes lethal, acts. The presence of these prior tendencies is a crucial factor in understanding and preventing such violence. The data shows a strong link between toxic relationship dynamics and the perpetration of violence. In relationships characterized by power imbalances, jealousy, or possessiveness, the risk of violence almost certainly increases. Perpetrators are very likely to use violence as a means of exerting control, often rationalizing their actions as a response to perceived challenges to their authority or autonomy. A notable proportion of the perpetrators had a history of criminal behavior, including previous incidents of violence. This criminal background is a significant risk factor, as past behavior is often the best predictor of future actions. Corruption and the lack of legislative regulations and common definitions of the term “femicide” likely increase the level of perpetrators’ impunity and foster this type of violence.  

 

[2] Five essential facts to know about femicide, UN Women, November 2023, https://www.unwomen.org/en/news-stories/feature-story/2022/11/five-essential-facts-to-know-about-femicide

[3] Ibid

[4] Data from the AFRICOM region might be underestimated because of the lack of reporting, limited, unbiased local monitoring or societal reluctance to corroborate with law enforcement regarding honor killings.

[5] Tshegofatso Pule: South African court convicts boyfriend of murder, BBC, March 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-60875314

[6] Chaïma: Algeria women protest over teen's rape and murder, BBC, October 2020, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-54465180

[7] Woman’s gruesome murder and a sheikh blaming the victim reveal Egypt’s problem with violence against women, CBS News, June 2022, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/nayera-ashraf-video-death-murder-egypt-violence-against-women/

[8] Burundi Activists Defy Femicide as Africa Fights Gender Violence, AllAfrica, N/A, https://allafrica.com/view/group/main/main/id/00085350.html

[9] Kidnapping and sexual slavery of underage girls in Greater Khartoum, Sudan Tribune, November 2023, https://sudantribune.com/article279877/

[10] Data from the CENTCOM region might be underestimated because of the lack of reporting, limited, unbiased local monitoring or societal reluctance to corroborate with law enforcement regarding honor killings.

[11] Pakistan police arrest three over 'honour killing' of teenage sisters, Reuters, May 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pakistan-women-crime-trfn-idUSKBN22U2O2/

[12] ‘Honor Killings’ Continue Unabated in Pakistan, The Diplomat, July 2022, https://thediplomat.com/2022/07/honor-killings-continue-unabated-in-pakistan/

[13] Iraqis protest gender violence after Youtube star killed, AP, February 2023, https://apnews.com/article/iraq-government-crime-womens-rights-7ad0d8f321cce229e0f5d240679587bd

[14] Can An Ex-Minister’s Arrest In His Wife’s Brutal Killing Finally Bring Protections to Kazakh Women?, Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, November 2023, https://www.rferl.org/a/kazakhstan-domestic-violence-arrest-brutal-beating-bishimbaev-wife/32686238.html

[15] Pregnant woman stabbed to death in front of her kids in Lod; unborn baby also dies, The Times of Israel, November 2023, https://www.timesofisrael.com/pregnant-woman-stabbed-to-death-in-front-of-her-kids-in-lod-unborn-baby-also-dies/

[16] Maida Vale deaths: Yasmin Chkaifi was 'clever, kind and witty', BBC, February 2022,

[17] Greece killing: Pilot murdered Caroline Crouch, court rules, BBC News, May 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-61463800

[19] Ibid.

[20] Giulia murdered with 37 stab wounds, 2 deadly to neck,  Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata, June 2023,

[21] Neuschwanstein: Woman killed in attack near historic German castle, BBC, June 2023,

[22] Giulia was killed, stabbed to the neck and head, Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata, November 2023, https://www.ansa.it/veneto/notizie/2023/11/18/trovato-un-corpo-di-una-donna-e-quello-di-giulia-cecchettin.-il-pm-filippo-costituisciti_345e306c-b634-4da9-83b2-70716a5482eb.html (Translated by Google)

[23] Kosovo Protesters Stage March Against Recent Femicide, Barron’s, December 2023,

[24] France arrests man over murder of wife and four children, France 24, December 2023,

[25] Take dead wife to hospital, suspected femicide, Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata, January 2024,

[26] Quién fue Ingrid Escamilla, víctima de feminicidio que inspiró una ley contra imágenes de agresiones a mujeres, Infobae, October 2023, https://www.infobae.com/mexico/2023/10/13/quien-fue-ingrid-escamila-victima-de-feminicidio-que-inspiro-una-ley-contra-imagenes-de-agresiones-a-mujeres/ (Translated by Google)

[27] “No me curen, quiero morir”: falleció Jaz, la pequeña de 7 años que sufrió maltrato y abuso sexual en Puebla, Infobae, December 2020, https://www.infobae.com/america/mexico/2020/12/29/no-me-curen-quiero-morir-jaz-la-pequena-de-7-anos-que-sufrio-maltrato-y-abuso-sexual-en-puebla-fallecio/  (Translated by Google)

[28] Liliana Lozada fue encontrada sin vida en un predio tras asistir a una cita de trabajo, Infobae, January 2022, https://www.infobae.com/america/mexico/2022/01/22/liliana-lozada-fue-encontrada-sin-vida-en-un-predio-tras-asistir-a-una-cita-de-trabajo/ (Translated by Google)

[29] What is known about Debanhi Escobar, a young man who disappeared in Nuevo León after attending a party, Infobae, April 2022, https://www.infobae.com/en/2022/04/13/what-is-known-about-debanhi-escobar-a-young-man-who-disappeared-in-nuevo-leon-after-attending-a-party/

[30] Qué se sabe sobre el caso de Debanhi Escobar a 8 meses del feminicidio de la joven, Infobae, January 2023, https://www.infobae.com/america/mexico/2023/01/05/que-se-sabe-sobre-el-caso-de-debanhi-escobar-a-8-meses-del-feminicidio-de-la-joven/ (Translated by Google)

[31] Caso Cecilia Monzón: a un año del asesinato de la activista su familia exigió justicia en Puebla, Infobae, May 2023, https://www.infobae.com/mexico/2023/05/25/caso-cecilia-monzon-a-un-ano-del-asesinato-de-la-activista-su-familia-exigio-justicia-en-puebla/ (Translated by Google)

[32] Statement Condemning Assassination of Cecilia Monzon, New York City Bar, June 2022, https://www.nycbar.org/media-listing/media/detail/statement-condemning-assassination-of-cecilia-monzon

[33] Cecilia Monzón, la abogada cuyo asesinato inspiró una ley única en México que contempla quitar la patria potestad a los feminicidas, BBC, March 2023, https://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-america-latina-64894730 (Translated by Google)

[34] Justicia para Brenda: piden en Puebla que se castigue a los tres supuestos culpables de la violación y feminicidio, Infobae, June 2022, https://www.infobae.com/america/mexico/2022/06/30/justicia-para-brenda-piden-en-puebla-que-se-castigue-a-los-tres-supuestos-culpables-de-la-violacion-y-feminicidio/ (Translated by Google)

[35] Advocates push to include 'femicide' in Criminal Code after Anoka Street murders, CBC News, July 2022, https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/murder-femicide-anoka-street-ottawa-1.6523681

[36] Michigan man fatally shot by police after he killed his wife; his daughter blames incident on QAnon conspiracy theory, NBC News, September 2022, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/michigan-police-kill-man-accused-fatally-shooting-wife-wounding-daught-rcna47274

[37] Quién era Ariadna Fernanda: el paso a paso del caso que llevó a la detención del fiscal de Morelos, Infobae, August 2023, https://www.infobae.com/mexico/2023/08/05/quien-era-ariadna-fernanda-el-paso-a-paso-del-caso-que-llevo-a-la-detencion-del-fiscal-de-morelos/ (Translated by Google)

[38] Woman fatally stabbed in Brampton had agreed to meet estranged husband in park, brother says, CBC News, May 2023, https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/davinder-kaur-brampton-fatal-stabbing-femicide-1.6852516

[39] Exigen justicia para Ruth Medina, asesinada por su pareja a 4 días de dar a luz, Infobae, October 2023, https://www.infobae.com/mexico/2023/10/26/exigen-justicia-para-ruth-medina-asesinada-por-su-pareja-a-4-dias-de-dar-a-luz/ (Translated by Google)

[40] Woman killed by estranged husband asked police for help several times, attorney tells only ABC13, ABC 13, November 2023, https://abc13.com/nityadevi-ramroop-death-katy-murder-suicide-woman-killed-by-estranged-husband/14000710/

[41] Hardoi: India man arrested for beheading teenaged daughter, BBC, March 2021, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-56276374 

[42] Managing director jailed for killing pregnant wife after inaccurate company report showed poor numbers, Channel News Asia, October 2023, https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/managing-director-stab-pregnant-wife-death-homicide-insomnia-company-fail-inaccurate-report-3874526

[43] Death of woman set ablaze in India sparks anger, DW, September 2022,

[44] South Korea stalker jailed 40 years for killing woman in subway, BBC, February 2023, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-64552871 

[45] Anger over breakup drove Sahil to kill 16-year-old girl in Delhi, suggests initial probe, India Today, May 2023, https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/delhi-sakshi-stabbed-murder-sahil-relationship-shahbad-dairy-rohini-2386187-2023-05-30 

[46] 22-year-old woman killed by family over inter-caste marriage; Gurgaon Police arrests parents, brother,  The Indian Express, August 2023,

[47] Assam: 50-year-old arrested for rape and murder of minor girl in Bokakhat, Northeast Now, October 2023, https://nenow.in/north-east-news/assam/assam-50-year-old-arrested-for-rape-and-murder-of-minor-girl-in-bokakhat.html

[48] Lilie James: Murder at elite school horrifies Australia, BBC, October 2023, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-67235592

[49] Fruit seller charged with murder of girlfriend, The New Straits Times, December 2023, https://www.nst.com.my/news/crime-courts/2023/12/994613/fruit-seller-charged-murder-girlfriend 

[50] World champion cyclist Rohan Dennis charged over death of wife, Olympian Melissa Hoskins, France 24 ,January 2024

[51] Woman refused to resume romantic relationship and her ex-partner stabbed her 20 times leaving her on the verge of death, Infobae, April 2022, https://www.infobae.com/en/2022/04/10/woman-refused-to-resume-romantic-relationship-and-her-ex-partner-stabbed-her-20-times-leaving-her-on-the-verge-of-death/ (Translated by Google)

[52] A woman was strangled in Samborondon; It is presumed that it was a femicide, El Universo, January 2023, https://www.eluniverso.com/noticias/seguridad/una-mujer-fue-estrangulada-en-samborondon-se-presume-que-fue-un-femicidio-nota/ (Translated by Google)

[53] American man charged in killing of DJ girlfriend in Colombia, The Washington Post, February 2023,

[54] Man arrested after burning ex-girlfriend alive on square in Peru, ABS-CBN, April 2023, https://news.abs-cbn.com/overseas/04/13/23/man-burns-ex-girlfriend-alive-at-peru-town-square

[55] El Salvador 'House of Horrors' killings shock nation numbed to violence, Reuters, July 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/el-salvador-house-horrors-killings-shock-nation-numbed-violence-2021-07-19/

[56] Abuse, threats and a stab in the chest: the horrific antecedents of the Berazategui femicide, Infobae, July 2023, https://www.infobae.com/sociedad/policiales/2023/07/18/abuso-amenazas-y-una-punalada-en-el-pecho-los-horrorosos-antecedentes-del-femicida-de-berazategui/ (Translated by Google)

[57] Man Who Tried To Murder His Ex-Partner By Stabbing Her 32 Was Sent To Jail: Woman Miraculously Survived, Infobae, October 2023, https://www.infobae.com/colombia/2023/10/20/hombre-que-intento-asesinar-a-su-expareja-propinandole-32-punaladas-fue-enviado-a-la-carcel-mujer-sobrevivio-de-milagro/ (Translated by Google)

[58] The man who stabbed a trans woman to death confessed to the crime on his Facebook wall, Infobae, November 2023, https://www.infobae.com/sociedad/policiales/2023/11/13/el-hombre-que-mato-a-punaladas-a-una-referente-trans-confeso-el-crimen-en-su-muro-de-facebook/ (Translated by Google)

[59] Man murdered his partner and committed suicide a few minutes later in Bello, Antioquia, Infobae, December 2023, https://www.infobae.com/colombia/2023/12/29/hombre-asesino-a-su-pareja-y-se-suicido-pocos-minutos-despues-en-bello-antioquia/ (Translated by Google)

[60] Niña indígena habría sido asesinada a golpes por su padrastro: se habla de un presunto feminicidio, Infobae, December 2023, https://www.infobae.com/colombia/2023/12/30/nina-indigena-habria-sido-asesinada-a-golpes-por-su-padrastro-se-habla-de-un-presunto-feminicidio/ (Translated  by Google)

[61] Venezolana fue asesinada por su pareja en un motel de Bucaramanga, El Espectador, January 2023, https://www.elespectador.com/colombia/mas-regiones/venezolana-fue-asesinada-por-su-pareja-en-un-motel-de-bucaramanga/ (Translated by Google)

[62]How did patriarchy actually begin?, BBC News, May 2023,

[63] “Preventing, protecting, providing access to justice: How can states respond to femicide?” European Parliament, 2021, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2021/653656/EXPO_BRI(2021)653656_EN.pdf

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