Why Men Can Afford to Kill Women

By Hillary Essien | Nov 26, 2023

Why do men kill women? Simply because they can. Men kill women because these actions have been upheld, propagated, and even praised by the decades-old institution that is male privilege. Having been seen as the dominant gender- this belief filtered and adapted through political, religious and cultural structures- male privilege has and can perpetuate the frequency of abuse committed against women. 

This essay delves into the disturbing question of why, in many cases, men can afford to kill women, the influence of misogynistic factors that encourage such violence, and what accountability can and should look like.

In the headlines, we see strangers, fathers, husbands, and boyfriends, all aggravators of a heinous crime: sexual and gender-based violence.  The sheer scale remains a pervasive and disturbing issue worldwide, one that transcends cultural, economic, and societal boundaries. It affects individuals of all genders, but it's undeniable that women bear the brunt of its devastating consequences. 

Historically, societies have perpetuated norms that favour men, granting them disproportionate control and authority. This has seen some men believe they have the right to dominate and control women, even at the cost of their lives.

Misogyny, the hatred or contempt of women, plays a critical role in encouraging this violence. Enabled by toxic masculinity and male privilege, misogyny manifests in various forms, including objectification, and victim-blaming, where the blame is assigned to the brutally murdered rather than the perpetrator.

Document Women’s monthly crawl serve not only as stark statistics but as a call to action for a world that must unite to protect its most vulnerable members. It underscores the urgency for comprehensive measures to combat this pervasive problem, pushing for increased awareness, intervention, and support for victims.

These factors contribute to the normalization of violence against women, making it easier for perpetrators to justify their actions.  

Exploring the deep-seated origins of gender-based violence is crucial for advancing the goals of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. These sixteen days stand as a global rallying call, urging individuals, communities, and governments to raise awareness, challenge these problematic norms, and advocate for policies combating violence directed at women. By untangling the intricate web of factors that fuel men's sense of entitlement to perpetrate violence against women, society can initiate the dismantling of structures that sustain such brutality.

The 16 Days of Activism represent a commitment to cultivating a world where individuals are not subjected to discrimination or violence based on their gender. Confronting the root causes of male-perpetrated violence against women contributes to dismantling patriarchal systems that impede progress toward a more equitable and just society.

In support of this campaign, the United Nations Secretary-General’s UNiTE by 2030 initiative calls for global action to increase awareness, galvanise advocacy efforts and share knowledge and innovations to help end all types of violence against women and girls. In 2023, the UNiTE campaign theme is Invest to Prevent Violence against Women & Girls.

In every country and culture, more action is needed to ensure women in all their diversity live free of violence and coercion. Health impacts of violence can last a lifetime, affecting physical, mental, sexual, and reproductive health. WHO plays a key role in bringing attention to and responding to violence against women as a public health, gender equality and human rights issue.

Accountability is a great place to start, a crucial starting point for change.  Accountability serves as a powerful catalyst in the collective effort to address violence against women and dismantle the structures that perpetuate harm against us. It provides a crucial starting point for transformative change, encompassing legal, educational, and rehabilitative dimensions.

Legal reforms are instrumental in establishing a framework that safeguards victims and holds perpetrators accountable. Strengthening laws to ensure stricter sentencing and facilitating the issuance of restraining orders empowers the legal system to act decisively against those perpetrating IPV. This not only serves as a deterrent but also sends a clear message that such actions will not be tolerated.

Education and awareness initiatives play a pivotal role in reshaping societal norms and attitudes toward IPV. By integrating topics like healthy relationships, consent, and the consequences of IPV into school curricula, public campaigns, and community outreach programs, we lay the foundation for a society that rejects violence as a means of asserting power.

Expanding support systems for survivors is equally essential. This involves bolstering resources such as shelters, counselling services, and legal aid to empower victims to seek help and break free from abusive relationships. A robust support network is crucial for survivors to rebuild their lives and move beyond the cycle of violence.

Simultaneously, rehabilitation programs for perpetrators are integral to addressing the root causes of violent behaviour and facilitating lasting change. By offering opportunities for self-reflection and intervention, these programs aim to reshape the mindset of individuals prone to perpetrating violence, ultimately breaking the cycle and fostering healthier relationships.

Moreover, empowering women through economic, educational, and social opportunities is a key strategy in dismantling the misogynistic factors that underpin IPV. When women have the resources and support needed to leave abusive relationships, they gain the agency to reshape their lives independently. By collectively embracing accountability measures and empowering women, we chart a course towards a future where intimate partner violence is relegated to the annals of history, paving the way for a society rooted in respect, equality, and safety for all.

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