Nevertheless, they persist

barefoot-beach-blonde-hair-1116613It’s been a while since I checked in. We’ve moved back into the cottage, planted the garden, dusted off the furniture, replenished the cupboards and can’t wait for company. I love this place. But politics, as usual, intrudes — even in this summer resort on the shores of Lake Winnipeg.

Our council fired the fire chief, whose squad is standing behind him. There are ridiculous rumours of sabotage of the water treatment plant as an invasion of zebra mussels clogs pipes and litters the beaches. Another fractious election looms.

One province over, it’s anybody-but-Doug-Ford, unless you’re a Postmedia publication. Don’t get me started on the nutty old man running the circus down south. And as someone who has worked in Edmonton and Victoria, I’m torn by the pipeline debate, knowing how desperately much it matters on both sides of that border. (But I laughed at Maclean’s Paul Wells’ quip on Twitter: “Weird week. Suddenly I own a pipeline and I can’t afford mayonnaise.”)


Meanwhile, the Canadian Femicide Observatory continues to quietly, grimly, inexorably do its job, counting the number of women killed in Canada. The number goes up every second day. Today they cite 70 women and girls killed since January.*

I’ve written about this group before; it’s a game-changer for those in the domestic-violence trenches. We’ve never had these kinds of statistics before; as a society we’ve refused to acknowledge femicides as anything but aberrations, crimes of “passion,” random acts of violence.

We can do that no longer. The observatory, which launched just before this year began, is keeping track of each femicide in this country, and its Twitter feed is a wake-up call, a voice for those who no longer have a voice, a grim reminder that violence against women continues.

It calls for more transparency from police forces who are inexplicably beginning to refuse to release homicide victim’s names. It links to news stories on femicides, often with brutally similar lead-ups. It offers unsolicited advice like this:

Media tip: Media often refer to male jealousy to explain men who kill female partners/ex-partners. Terms used are ‘love gone wrong’, ‘from love to murder’, ‘crime of passion’. It’s a crime, but it’s not passion or love.


It is showing us what we suspected for years — that more women are being killed than ever before recorded.

My stats when I wrote Runaway Wives and Rogue Feminists were a vague “every five and a half days, a woman is killed by her intimate partner.” So far, in 2018, the observatory has recorded a death every second day. And we’re not halfway through the year.

Feminists in this country and elsewhere need to support and amplify this ground-breaking initiative’s work. It’s a reality check for us all — even those trying to bury their heads in the sands of summer.

Follow them at @CAN_Femicide

*This statistic was earlier posted on their website as “at least 57.” It is now at 70. At the end of June, the observatory will post a six-month list.