Terrorism affects our lives with quite miserable regularity at present. Most days we wake up with the niggling fear that somewhere in the world a man will have driven a car or lorry into a crowd. Or a man will have walked into a pop concert with an explosive. Or a man will have reversed his car into a protesting crowd. We are afraid of men in airports. We are afraid of men while on demonstrations and marches. We are afraid of men on public transport. We are afraid of men while we walk around cities.
Some men, and some women, will be bristling angrily already while reading this. I am using the word “man” they will be thinking. They will probably be shouting in annoyance, “that is sexist!” “Women kill too” they will protest.
Truth isn’t sexist. All of the people who have committed all of the most recent acts of global terrorism are men. All of them.
95% of the 437,000 global homicides each year have a male perpetrator. It isn’t sexist. It is fact according to United Nations Office On Drugs and Crime (UNODC) figures.
It was therefore frustrating to see Jason Burke in the Guardian at the weekend finding all sorts of different links between the perpetrators of recent terrorist attacks except the one that was blindingly obvious. They are all men. Violent men.
Joan Smith wrote here about the other notable link amongst other recent male terrorists. They frequently, so frequently that it is impossible to exclude its relevance, have a history of violence against women. Often the violence is against women they are, or have been, in an intimate relationship with.
Since that article one of the suspects in the Barcelona attack has been shown to have a history of domestic abuse. James Alex Fields Jr. the murderer in Charlottesville had a history of domestic abuse of his own mother.
At the time of the Barcelona terrorist attack ABC news reported that there was already an arrest warrant issued for Driss Oukabir, one of the suspects. It was for domestic violence. Not terrorism.
Or was it?
The World Health Organisation report ‘Violence Against Women. Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Against Women’ in 2016, showed that globally 30% of women will experience physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner.
Let’s think about that. Terrorism is horrific. But 30% of the global population will not experience directly an act of terrorism that harms them physically. 30% of women will.
Most of the perpetrators of terrorism are male. Many of the perpetrators of acts of global terrorism also commit acts of terror against the women in their intimate relationships.
43-year-old and qualified solicitor Alison Jane Farr-Davies had been beaten to death and thrown downstairs naked by her boyfriend. The coroner recorded that one of her injuries was “penetrating cardiac injury’. I wasn’t sure what that was. So I Googled. What I found was this…
“Cardiovascular penetrating injuries are common in military conflicts in large numbers. As a result most of the data are from major wars of the past century… Low velocity projectiles such as small fragments from anti-personnel and anti-tank mines, mortars, grenades, rockets and bombs are responsible for the majority of wounds” – US National Library Of Medicine
James Dean, her murderer, hit her like a rocket or a bomb. It could be said that he was her war. Being in a relationship with a violent man is similar to being in a war. It hurts like war. It is perpetual lived terror. It hurts like terrorism.
Violence and abuse of women is committed in such numbers that it is, and should be seen as, terrorism. It is designed to create terror in women specifically and to stop them going about their daily lives in safety.
It does. It should be tackled as a priority as high on the list of global governments as any extremist terrorist threat. There should be a COBRA meeting, or its global equivalent, called every day that a woman dies. A woman dies like this somewhere in the world every day.
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