Femicide: The Politics of Woman Killing

Jill Radford, Diana E. H. Russell
Twayne, 1992 - 379 páginas
"'There's no place like home.' This familiar phrase invokes the image of an ideal: home as safe haven and shelter from the world. For women who have been victims of femicide - misogynist killing by men - these simple words take on a disturbing new meaning. There is indeed no place like home for a woman who has died at the hands of a man, because it is there that she was least safe from harm. The threat of violent death for a woman is in fact greatest in her own home. And her killer is likely no stranger, no masked psychopath, but someone who knew her intimately, a companion or former companion, a husband or lover. In Femicide: The Politics of Woman Killing editors Jill Radford and Diana E.H. Russell have compiled more than 40 articles and essays that document and describe such terrible truths about the phenomenon of femicide. The hearings for Clarence Thomas's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court and the trials of William Kennedy Smith and Mike Tyson put the issues of sexual harassment and date rape on the mainstream map. But femicide, the most violent form of sexist behavior, has yet to be widely acknowledged and recognized as a brutal expression of hatred for women. A woman killed in her home by her former husband, a woman killed by a serial murderer such as Great Britain's Yorkshire Ripper or Los Angeles' Hillside Strangler, a woman killed by a mass murderer such as Marc Lépine, who in 1989 shot to death 14 female students at the University of Montreal, are all to some degree victims of misogyny and a destructive desire for power, argue Radford and Russell. But these motivations for such violence are rarely acknowledged. The murderer's behavior is usually viewed as aberrant and unexplainable; he is a 'beast' or an 'animal,' not a man who has committed an act of sexual violence. If lynching has become synonymous with racism, pogrom synonymous with anti-Semitism, why has it been so difficult to establish the connection between femicide and sexism?The connection is made repeatedly in Femicide. Contributors address the deaths of the thousands of women in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England burned as witches; female infanticide and suttee, or death by fire, in India; and the slaying of Asian-American, African-American, and American-Indian women in the United States. No respecter of race, ethnicity, or social class, femicide occurs across countries, continents, and cultures. The killing of minority women is examined by several writers, who attribute their deaths to the compound effects of racist and sexist violence. Femicide also assesses the culpability of the media and the judicial system in putting the character of the victim, rather than the act of the murderer, on trial. Both the courts and the press, Radford and Russell say, help perpetuate the notion that the female victim is responsible for the crime committed against her. Mass market films and pornography are likewise held accountable for their role in the selling and glamorizing of sexual violence. A testimony to the existence of femicide, this volume is as much an act of resistance. Numerous contributors chronicle the efforts of women working singly and in unison to reveal the pervasiveness of this ultimate form of sexual violence, to reach out to the friends and families of its victims, and to fight back against it"--Unedited summary from book jacket.

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Sexist Terrorism against Women
Legal Lesbicide
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