Misogyny Kills: Domestic Abuse and Murder | Sarah Stook

Sarah Everard. Libby Squire. One was walking home. The other was on the streets after a night out. One was found in a woodland. The other was found floating in the river. Both had been murdered by total strangers.

These two cases should have been a wakeup call, or even an anomaly, but they were not. For years, we’ve seen girls and women murdered with an indescribable brutality. If it’s not strangers in the dark, it’s abusive parents and exes. There was also ample time to stop these men.

Wayne Couzens, the man who abducted, raped and murdered Sarah Everard, was a police officer. You’d think such a man would be there to protect the public, but you’d be wrong. Couzens had already been accused of indecent exposure years prior, yet police failed to act on the complaint.

There were even more warning signs from Pawel Relowicz, who’d slain Hull student Libby Squire. Relowicz had a history of following young women home and masturbating openly outside of their houses, often when they could see. He’d even ejaculated on their doors. Other acts included voyuerism and taking sex objects from houses he’d burgled. These sick acts had him jailed for eight years, which was then moved down to five and a half years.

Couzens should have been investigated and moved from his position. Relowicz should have been deported. Unfortunately, these lewd acts did not seem to be of much concern to the authorities.

It’s not just Sarah and Libby. Around the world, there is a cruel misogyny that is yet to be wiped out. Women in South America live in a machismo culture that sees men get away with murdering their wives and girlfriends. Girls in India are gang-raped with impunity. Family members commit honour killings against their sisters and daughters. Men in Papua New Guinea openly commit sexual assault as gang initiations. Women in Afghanistan are forced back into abusive households.

As COVID and lockdown grip the nation, women are trapped in a cycle of violence. Domestic abuse cases have soared. It’s becoming more common as a percentage of crime.

We cannot blame COVID and lockdown for violence against women. It is endemic in all societies, even as we’ve progressed in many areas. There’s a deep contempt for women or even just a casual dismissive nature. Men see them as property or sex objects or just playthings.

There are no laws against domestic abuse in some nations. Women can be married off to their rapists. Marital rape is not a thing or a crime. They’re objects that men can do whatever they want to.

When these women fight back, they are silenced. If they do anything that the men do, they’re mistreated. Look at the obsession with purity. Virginity tests are administered in some places, usually as a prerequisite for marriage or certain jobs. There is no scientific way to discover someone’s virginity, so they use medieval methods. That should not even matter. A woman’s purity shouldn’t be used as discrimination. Men are free to be sexual, but a woman is expected to be chaste until marriage.

It leads to rape being used as a weapon. Rape is an easy way to discredit them- it ruins them in society, brings shame upon their families. It’s a weapon against the menfolk, mocking the fact that they can’t protect their women. If a woman is raped, her family may disown her- only slightly better than murdering her for not being a virgin.

Women can’t say no either. Rejecting a man can lead to violent consequences, because some can’t ponder the idea of being rejected. Even with all the resources in the world, simply leaving an abuser isn’t always the end of it- that is often the most dangerous time period.

Take Gracie Spinks, the 23-year-old stalked by a co-worker who she’d once had a date with. He was fired from his job for harassing her but continued, forcing Gracie to get a restraining order out against him. This didn’t stop him, as he stabbed Gracie in the neck before killing himself.

These killers and abusers never receive the long sentences inside that they should. It’s a revolving door, allowing them out again to cruelly hurt others. We all read articles about these things, tweeting about how this shouldn’t be allowed to happen, yet it still does. Successive governments promise action, yet the wheel continues spinning.

We shouldn’t have to live in fear. Around the world, misogyny reigns. Rape, exposure, masturbating to unsuspecting women, it’s not about sex, it’s about power. It’s about terrifying these women and dominating them. These men hit women because they think they own them. They kill them for leaving because no one could have them but them.

This hatred of women must stop. Society needs to teach men that this is not ok. Women perpetuate this cycle when they allow their male family members to kill their daughters for honour. As society turns a blind eye, it allows these things to be seen as acceptable. When there is nowhere to turn, the cycle begins anew. Misogyny is a killer.

Photo Credit.

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