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Chapter 31

SOC244H5 Chapter Notes - Chapter 31: Femicide, Crown Attorney, Homicide

Course Code
Jennifer Carlson

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Violence is not so rare according to some core feature of intimate relations between women
and men may be at the heart of the problem
Chapter reviews main findings of a large study of women who were killed in Ontario from
Conclude that gender is indeed central to mens violence against women
Woman Killing: Intimate Femicide in Ontario, 1974-1994
202 female victims of homicide in Canada in 1988
Shared with 68 other female victims a marital relationship with their killers
2 women also shared the experience of having been clients and friends of women who
worked in shelters for abused women in Ontario
Women We Honour Action Committee (WWHAC)- task of learning more about the
phenomenon of women killed by their intimate partners; conducted literature review on
women killed by their intimate partners or intimate femicide
WWHAC approached the Ontario Womens Directorate for funding to conduct their study of
intimate femicide in Ontario
Femicide was first used in England in 1801 to signify "the killing of a woman."; misogynistic murders by
men and as a phenomenon tied to the patriarchal system in which women are predisposed to be killed
because they are women

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Their study had three goals: document for Ontario the incidence of killings of women by
intimate partners, describe the characteristics of the people involved in and the
circumstances surrounding these killings, to present the stories of a small number of
women who had been killed by their intimate partner
Study which was completed in 1992 complied and analyzed data on all intimate femicide
known to authorities ; second study designed to update data was completed in 1997
Framing the Issue of Intimate Femicide
Concluded that intimate femicide is a phenomenon distinct in important ways both
from the killing of men by their intimate partners and from non-lethal violence against
In response to this neglect of gender, a number of analysis have made gender central
feature of their accounts of spousal violence
Sex-role theorists highlight gender differences in socialization which teach males to
view toughness, power and control as masculine attributes
Evolutionary theorists argue that violence is an adaptive strategy for males facing
loss of status and control over their partners
Resource theorists look at violence as the ultimate resource available to men when
other means of exerting control over their partners are exhausted
General systems theorists argue that for men the rewards of violence against their
wives are greater than the costs due to societys failure to adequately allow such violence
Power, control and domination were themes that they encountered daily in talking
with abused women and that they detected in relationships ending in intimate femicide
In unable to control or coerce his partner through other means, a man may exert the
ultimate control over her by killing her
Hence, male proprietariness, or male sexual jealousy, has been placed at the centre
of many empirical and theoretical analyses of intimate femicide
Research on intimate femicide and spousal homicide identified common core in these
killings of masculine control, where women become viewed as the possessions of men, and
the violence reflects steps taken by males to assert their domination over their wives
Significant advances in both empirical and conceptual analyses of lethal violence
against women by their partners since the literature review that served as the impetus of
this research

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Empirical research in Canada still largely relies on official stats from police sources,
excluding from their classification of spousal homicides killings by men of their estranged
common-law partners and girlfriends; official stats also restrict analyses to the information
and coding schemes employed by po.ice agencies and personnel
Data Sources
Data for this study was collected by searching death records kept by the Office of Chief
Coroner for Ontario
These records provide centralized source of information on all deaths in Ontario and means
of identifying and assessing records for deaths identified by Coroners office as homicides
These files contain copies of police reports and medical responds on the condition of body,
the way in which women were killed and the violence suffered
Imperfect measures of the actual number of deaths due to homicide
Were able to cross-check and supplement data from coroners records by looking at police
homicide investigation files for some cases
Also able to review data from crown attorney files on many cases in which charges were laid
In both studies (1992 and 1997) supplemented data from official sources with information
from newspapers and magazine articles on some killings and trials of some of the alleged
Compiled information so it could be used in quantitative and qualitative analyses
Quantitative: study that determines how well a system performs; process used in certain economic,
cost-benefit, engineering, or traffic studies where multiple factors, elements, and/or outcomes are
evaluated and compared by the use of measurable data. ...
Qualitative: Relating to, measuring, or measured by the quality of something rather than its quantity
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