A repetitive claim amongst feminists about how dangerous life is for women is that two women a week are murdered, be it in total, by men or by a current/former partner – they oft don’t specify. However, only two female murder victims a week is actually quite low and there are other forms of mortality that are much more prevalent.
This rather impertinent claim was repeated by Jess Philips on Question Time: “two women a week are murdered in this country”; Refuge says “2 women are killed every week in England and Wales by a current or former partner” and Women’s Aid says that “In the United Kingdom, over the last ten years, on average two women a week are killed by their male partners or former partners”. The running theme, ignoring the differences, is that two women a week are murdered.
According to the Office of National Statistics’ most recent data on Homicide, found under Chapter 2 (Homicide) of Violent Crimes and Sexual Offences, in 2013/14 there were 183 female murder victims in England and Wales. This equates to 3.51 female murder victims a week in total, and because 46% of female victims are killed by a current/former partner that gives 1.62 women killed a week by a current/former partner. Whilst 2 women a week is satisfied by rounding up, a more honest statistic would be to round down to 1.5 women a week, or 6 a month.
However, should we take the feminism-endorsed statistic and accept it at face value and compare it to other mortality statistics, we find that two women a week doesn’t seem like such a terrifying figure. For example, we find in the same ONS report that male victims of murder comprise 65% of all murder victims, totalling 343 victims for 2013/14; this levels out at 6.60 male murder victims a week or 3 times as many victims. In fact, as 32% of male victims are killed by strangers, more men are killed by strangers than women are killed by current/former partners (2.11 men a week killed by a stranger)!!!
Male murder victims are consistently higher than female
This gap also stands true for suicide, as has been covered before here at The Screen. Looking just at female statistics there were 1,375 female suicides registered in the UK in 2013, or 26.44 female suicides a week; that is 13 times the number of women murdered a week. But should we look at male statistics we’d find that approximately 78 men a week end their lives. This means that more men kill themselves in a week than women are murdered in just under 10 months (if we use the 2 women a week stat).
Information found on the Death Registration Summary Tables from the ONS, hosted by The National Archives, show a large collection of causes of death that surpass the 2 women a week or 183 women a year statistic (all the information presented is true for death registrations in England and Wales for 2014).
For example epilepsy killed 334 women in 2014, 83% more than current/former partners did.
Asthma killed 769 women in England and Wales in 2014, taking 420% the number of lives that violent (ex-) partners did.
2,239 women died from falling, a whopping 1223% of the number of women murdered by current or ex-partners.
829 women died through accidental poisoning and exposure to noxious substances, 646 more than who were killed by current/former partners. In fact, the total number of women whose cause of death is officially listed as being “accidental” of some sort is 5,579; a staggering 107.29 women a week die because of accidents! Where’s their campaign?
184 women died due to mental and behavioural disorders caused by psychoactive substance use. This rounds out as 3.5 women a week dying from mental health issues caused by substance use.
The final mortality statistic, albeit one that does not affect women exclusively, is there are 11 stillbirths every day in the UK. That statistic should show you two things, one: the prevalence of stillbirths (of which approximately half should be prevented); and two: the difference in scale of the two issues. There are 38.5 times as many deaths because of stillbirth than because of murderous current/former partners. Let that sink in.
Ultimately, the gist of this article is that when people say “two women a week murdered” what I hear is “only two women a week murdered”. Do not misinterpret, I am celebrating not because these women are dying but because so few are dying through this means. It should be celebrated that so few die at the hands at a current/former partner, not politicised and used as a weapon. However, proponents of this claim oft do not look at research, hence why they sound silly when that statistic is either studied or compared to other relevant mortality statistics.