*This article was updated on September 28th, 2023.
Nearly every day, there’s a story in the media of men doing absolutely deplorable things to women. It is especially chilling when these stories involve men the women knew personally; boyfriends, husbands, brothers, uncles and fathers. Women are being killed at alarming rates by the men around them, and in many instances, they escape accountability for their actions, and it needs to stop.
What Is Femicide?
Femicide is generally understood to involve the intentional murder of women because they are women, but broader definitions include any killings of women or girls. Femicide is usually perpetrated by men, typically current partners or former partners or family members and involves violent relationships, ongoing abuse in the home, threats and intimidation, sexual violence or situations where the power dynamics are skewed, or women have fewer resources than their partner.
According to UN Women, it can be defined as an intentional killing with a gender-related motivation. Femicide may be driven by stereotyped gender roles, discrimination towards women and girls, unequal power relations between women and men, or harmful social norms.
Femicide is a very present problem; we see it almost every day across the world.
*On the morning of September 27th, 2023, just yesterday, a 15-year-old girl was fatally stabbed on her way to school by 8:30 a.m. in Croydon, south London. Eyewitnesses at the gory scene say the victim, Eliyanna Andam, had tried to intervene when things got heated between her friend and her ex-boyfriend who had tried to give her flowers and a note. He then stabbed her with “a knife that resembled a sword.”
A 17-year-old boy was arrested in relation to the incident. He had a love note, flowers, and a machete, a clear indication that he went there with the intention to woo the girl or to harm her if she rejected him. He ended up killing her friend who selflessly ran to her defense.
The incel problem is undoubtedly stoking the fires of femicide. Teenage boys are being radicalised into misogyny by manosphere influencers all over the internet. The messaging that it’s okay to hate and harm women because they reject you is peak incel rhetoric.
On July 17, 2023, a popular Nigerian punter/gambler Benjamin Best, also known as Killaboi, confessed to the murder of his girlfriend, influencer Augusta Osedion. According to him, he “mistakenly” stabbed her to death during an argument and then fled the scene out of fear.
In Killaboi’s Instagram confession, possibly in an attempt to seek public sympathy, he described the relationship as toxic and claimed to have been battling suicidal ideation since the incident.
The posts with his confession seem insincere, an attempt to garner sympathy and push the blame of his actions on the victim, and the profoundly misogynistic society we live in empowers him to do so. Some people, on social media especially, are ever willing to ascribe blame to the victim when it is a woman for “following a rich man” to the extent of sympathising with a murderer. No matter how deplorable the offence a man has committed, there will be Nigerian men and pick-me women waiting to “hear his side.”
His posts seek to paint him as a victim of circumstance, felled by a woman. He says “Woman was finally the end of you,” and that the relationship was toxic. He says he’s not an evil person nor a murderer, claiming innocence after his clear admission of guilt. His Instagram posts are especially evil because they try to switch the narrative and place him, the man who murdered his girlfriend and was likely abusing her before then, in the position of innocence and portray the victim as having forced his hand.
He also claims to be feeling suicidal, the go-to ammo for violent men to gaslight victims and the general public after they have perpetrated evil, like his decision to take his life holds more weight than his taking hers, and his life is of more value than hers.
In April 2022, Nigerian gospel musician Osinachi Nwachukwu best known for her hit gospel song “Ekwueme”, tragically passed away aged 42, and her death was alleged to be a result of domestic violence. Her husband, Peter Nwachukwu, was arrested in connection with her death on 23 charges in total, some of which relate to domestic violence, including emotional, verbal and psychological abuse, as well as culpable homicide, an offence that can carry the death penalty.
Despite what her husband and manager, Peter, initially led the media to believe that she died from lung cancer, the late Osinachi’s first son disclosed that his mother died from the injuries she had sustained from the abuse, which had apparently been ongoing for years. Peter had allegedly kicked her in the chest, which resulted in a blood clot that eventually led to her death. Currently, Peter is being remanded at Kuje Prison and is awaiting judgement.
16-year-old Amber Gibson was found dead in Glasgow Scotland, murdered by her 20-year-old brother, Connor Gibson. He allegedly strangled and sexually assaulted his sister in November 2021. It is also alleged that 45-year-old Stephen Corrigan found her body, inappropriately touched her and then hid her body under bushes. Even children aren’t safe, and even death does not prevent violence against and the dehumanisation of women.
Ogochukwu Anene, a mother of five, was allegedly beaten to death by her husband, Ndubisi, over a loaf of bread on January 11, 2023. According to their first child, aged 14, an argument broke out when Ogochukwu asked her husband why he finished the bread without leaving some for the children. Their son said his father beat his mum to death with a mirror after she asked him to buy bread for them, but he said he had no money. Unfortunately, there have been no tangible updates on whether or not Ndubisi paid for his crimes.
A 34-year-old man, Oluwaseun Olabode, has been sentenced to death by hanging by an Akure High Court, for allegedly killing his eight-month-old, pregnant wife, Adaeze Olabode, three years ago. The prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused beat Adaeze Olabode, his wife with a blunt object on the right side of her abdomen while she was heavily pregnant, leading to her death.
These stories are endless, and femicide is a global problem. In every part of the world, women are killed daily, and the killings are justified or silenced because, in a patriarchy, women are seen as less valuable than men and as dispensable— property to be kept in line by any means necessary, even murder. Intimate partner violence, honour killings, and family-related killings are commonplace around the world and religion and culture are used to protect perpetrators while the law offers a lacklustre approach or does nothing at all.
According to data published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC, globally, 81,000 women and girls were killed in 2020, around 47,000 of them, a whopping 58% died at the hands of an intimate partner or a family member, which equals to a woman or girl being killed every 11 minutes in their home. However, there are undoubtedly several more unreported cases that do not factor into these stats.
The world, and Nigeria specifically, has a femicide problem. A culture of excusing and justifying violent behaviour against women to enforce patriarchal norms and put them in their place is directly responsible for this menace. When men believe it is their god-given mandate to control women or where they are in a position of power over women, with the knowledge that nothing will happen to them, and they may even get a pat on their back, they are more emboldened and inclined to harm women.