What should be done to end femicide cases

Women protest in Nairobi against rising femicide cases in the country, January 2024. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

Femicide is a severe violation of human rights, and its occurrence reflects deeper issues within societies, such as misogyny, sexism, and a lack of adequate legal and social structures to protect women.

Femicide refers to the intentional killing of women or girls because they are female. It’s a gender-based crime that often involves acts of violence such as murder, torture, sexual assault, mutilation, or other forms of harm.

Femicide is rooted in gender inequality, discrimination, and harmful cultural norms. It can occur in various contexts, including domestic violence, honour killings, human trafficking, and other forms of gender-based violence.

Addressing and stopping femicide requires a comprehensive and multi-dimensional approach involving individuals, communities, governments, and organisations. This may include conducting awareness campaigns to educate the public about the prevalence and consequences of femicide and promoting a culture that rejects violence against women and challenges harmful gender norms.

We should all advocate for and support the implementation of laws that specifically address violence against women, including femicide and ensure that legal frameworks are comprehensive, enforceable, and provide adequate protection for the victims.

Law enforcement agencies should be well-trained to handle cases of violence against women with sensitivity and expertise. They should also ensure that perpetrators are held accountable through fair and efficient legal processes.

Support services for survivors like shelters/rescue homes, counselling, and legal aid should be established and funded and their accessibility to these services increased, particularly in underserved areas like rural areas and informal settlements. Also, establish crisis intervention hotlines and services to provide immediate support for women in danger. Ensure these services are accessible and well-publicised.

Schools should implement educational programmes that promote gender equality and challenge stereotypes from an early age and incorporate education on healthy relationships and consent in school curricula. Promote economic opportunities for women and girls to reduce dependence on potentially abusive partners and support entrepreneurship and skills development programmes for women/girls at all levels.

Communities should be engaged in conversations about gender-based violence and femicide and encourage community leaders to take a stand against violence and be role models for positive behaviour in society.

Media houses should encourage responsible reporting on cases of violence against women. By adopting responsible reporting practices, media can contribute to a culture that rejects violence against women, challenges harmful narratives, and promotes a safer and more equitable society.

Improve data collection on femicide to understand patterns, identify risk factors, and inform preventive strategies. Support research on the root causes of violence against women. Collaborate with international organisations and neighbouring countries to address cross-border issues related to femicide. Share best practices from successful initiatives globally.

-Ms Kondoa is a communications specialist

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