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Feminicide: beyond statistics, to action

Updated: Apr 2

Feminicide is the crime or forced suicide of a woman because of her gender, regardless of her age or circumstances.

Femicide as a phenomenon occurs in the context of systemic patriarchal violence and/or at the intersection with other oppressive practices. Three types of feminicide can be distinguished:

  • spousal (by a husband or ex-spouse),

  • familial (by a father, son, etc.),

  • social (in a friendly or professional setting).

*This article discusses femicides, not androcides (male homicides), because women are disproportionately affected by the risk of being killed as a result of domestic violence.

In the shadow of gender inequality and deeply entrenched patriarchal norms lies the disturbing reality of femicide. This text examines the various aspects of femicide, categorizing them, and highlights the urgent need for public recognition and legal affirmation to address this widespread problem.

Feminicide still does not exist as a legal term in the Bulgarian law!

Yes, killing your mother is murdering a woman. Yes, killing a sex worker is murdering a woman. Yes, killing a neighbor or even a mere stranger is murder of a woman. Committing murder against a woman solely because of her gender is considered feminicide. 

Femicide is not representative enough in our eyes because spousal homicide is just the tip of the iceberg.

Possible measures to combat feminicides are:

  • introduction of protective laws,

  • training law enforcement to collect evidence from victims,

  • funding associations and

  • setting up temporary accommodation centres for victims of violence.

Statistics from the French NGO #NousToutes show that 153 attempted murders of women were recorded in France in 2023, but we know that there were actually many more. The French Justice Minister, Eric Dupont-Moretti, declares only 93 feminicides because he only counts spousal feminicides and excludes family and social ones.

In January 2024, the Okrilena team launched similar statistics for the territory of Bulgaria. There is no official one: the Ministry of Interior told us that they do not record such information. Portals such as try to track cases and therefore convictions from media publications on the subject.

Changing the trend of femicide requires a forward-looking perspective. The recorded attempted femicides in 2023, while alarming, probably do not cover all cases. It is critical to push for public policies that address root causes, implement protective measures, and actively engage in the societal transformation needed to curb femicide.

Here's how each of us can help:

  • Don't put your headphones in if you hear your neighbours arguing. On the contrary, be proactive and ask if anyone needs help.

  • Don't remain silent if you notice any kind of gender discrimination in your workplace, regardless who it is aimed at.

  • You may not have directly seen the violence taking place, but you may see the signs of it. In such cases, you can contact the Alliance for Protection from Gender Based Violence (AGBV) in Bulgaria, dedicated free national helpline for advice on 0800 11 977. The hotline will refer you to an appropriate organisation or institution if necessary.

  • Or the easiest: discuss and talk often with the women in your life about the timely marking of so-called 'red flags'. Very often they are the signs that suggest there is a possibility of such a fatal end.

The road ahead is challenging, but together we can ensure a more secure future for women - daughters, mothers, wives and all.


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