What is femicide? Shanquella Robinson Death Sparks Public Discussion Around Gender Based Violence


Violence against women comprises a wide range of acts – from
verbal harrasment and other forms of emotional abuse, to daily
physical or sexual abuse. At the far end of the spectrum is femicide:
the murder of a woman. While our understanding of femicide is limited, we know that a large proportion of femicides are of women in violent relationships, and are committed by current or former partners.

Femicides fall into two categories: intimate and non-intimate femicide. The former refers to the killing of women by current or  ex-partners, while the latter encapsulates the killing of women by people with whom they had no intimate relationship. This includes women killed during armed conflict as a weapons of war; so-called “honor” killings, where a woman is killed for allegedly bringing shame to her family; the murder of women because of their race or sexuality; femicides perpetrated by other women, acting as “agent(s) of patriarchy;” and the killing of transgender women. 

Robinson, a 25-year-old student at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina died in October while staying in a luxury rental property in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur. Daejhanae Jackson was placed in federal custody, waiting for her to begin her extradition process to Mexico, where she will be formally accused of the femicide of the 25-year-old businesswoman.

Is femicide different from homicide in criminal law?

No, in most countries it is not. 

Only a handful of countries legally recognize femicide as distinctly different from homicide; most of them are in Latin America where 16 countries have included femicide as a specific crime.

We watched the video and opted not to share it.

Unlike Mexico and other Latin American countries, the US does not have a law recognizing femicide as a different crime than homicide, which several experts say does not mean that killings targeting women are not happening in the US at alarming rates.

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