For the last 40 years, a woman or girl was killed every 2.5 days in Canada, according to a report released Wednesday.
The report, #CallItFemicide, found that this trend has remained roughly the same for the last four decades.
This was the first annual report by the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability, and was published in response to the United Nations’ call for the creation of femicide observatories around the world.
It found that 148 women and girls were killed by violence in 2018, with the highest rates in Nunavut, followed by the Yukon, New Brunswick, and Manitoba.
Many of these deaths were femicides — the killing of women or girls usually committed by men.
“Men are the primary perpetrators of femicide and, as stated by the United Nations Secretary-General, in a report on the progress towards Sustainable Development goals, this violence is perpetuated and maintained through broader patriarchal systems of oppression and ongoing gender inequality,” the report states.
The research team followed media reports of potential femicides in 2018, and tracked the social and legal reactions to these crimes.
Through this study, they hope to identify femicide trends, patterns, and circumstances and narrow down future research themes.
It may be difficult to know at first if women/girls have been killed 'because' of their gender; research includes all killings of women/girls & works to differentiate those influenced by gendered contexts/motives. See #CFOJA inaugural report: https://t.co/Y6OckiKqVupic.twitter.com/3jQwspXOdS— Canadian Femicide Observatory (@CAN_Femicide) January 31, 2019
The researchers found that 53% of those killed were killed by male partners, 13% by other male family members, 13% by male acquaintances and 21% by male strangers — a pattern observed worldwide.
This means that 79% of the time, the victims knew their assailant.
Patricia Lewis was likely one such victim. She was allegedly murdered in her home in Guelph, Ontario, and her son, Lawrence Kemp, was charged with second-degree murder in November 2018, according to HuffPost Canada.
“As women, we're vigilant about our safety. We're trained to be aware of our safety in terms of strangers, but really it's not about that. It's about the people we know,” Kemp’s niece Connie Marangwanda told HuffPost Canada. “Think of all the women out there being abused and controlled in their own home that we don't even know about it. These women are not getting help and society tends to judge them, instead of supporting them.”
Prof. Myrna Dawson, head of the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability, noted that this is not an issue in Canada alone.
“Monitoring the situation over the last year, we were very much impacted in real time,” Dawson told HuffPost Canada. “We would get up every other day and face another case of a woman or girl being killed.”
The report also serves as a means to remember the names of all 148 victims.
This report provides a “minimum estimate” as some murder cases have not yet been reported or identified as homicides. Researchers are also tracking data for 2016 and 2017, and plan to document earlier years as well.