FEMICIDE is “the intentional murder of women because they are women” (WHO)
It seemed fit for me to start off with a definition of femicide, since as we have seen these past few days, in the light of the brutal murder of Chantelle Chetcuti, it is clear that this definition is not present in the majority’s vocabulary.
Many have defined this murder as a “crime of passion” which automatically justifies the perpetrator’s actions but this most definitely is not one. The intent behind his confrontation with Chantelle was to cause harm, to threaten and to instill fear, a cycle many victims of domestic violence can never break free from, and this is the crucial part we cannot forget in this story. This stems out of his need to possess, “If I can’t have you then no one will” mentality and this is why the murder took place. This case of femicide, “the murder of women as a result of intimate partner violence” is derived from the misogynistic roots of control, power & force, which dehumanises women and elevates men. This is where domestic violence starts from.
The dehumanisation leads to objectification, which becomes the woman’s identification, and society needs to understand why in the hands of the perpetrator, in the hands of the police and in the hands of the law she is no longer valued as a human being. She becomes a choiceless object. It has been clear that the handling of such cases also affirms that women continue to be treated as second class citizens and this is why Malta has a problem with women. Their experiences are devalued and shamed, ridiculed and laughed at. This is the gender equal Malta many are proud to be part of. Shame on us for allowing the situation to get this far and shame on those who normalise and accept this.
The normalisation of this behaviour is justified time and time again when we hear or see comments such as these; ‘I know what kind of man you are’, ‘she must have done something to anger him’, ‘it is impossible, he can’t even hurt a fly’. Such comments make me shift in my seat and pace in anger as they condone his behavior labelling the woman a lair, with the typical boy’s club standing up for the perpetrator. This is where the system keeps failing women.
Another article drops in the news and we are met with the court’s response to another domestic violence case, in which the perpetrator gets off with a simple slap on the wrist. Then we wonder why society’s mentality does not seem to progress. How can it, when we are told that the laws have changed but the implementation of it is abysmal? How can it, when the harsh condemnations to femicide are laughable? How can it, when those who have the power to change the narrative do not really care? I am not the first to say this and I will probably not be the last. Action does not come from words! Action comes from action!
Women on this island deserve action, not now, not in the future but yesterday! The system cannot continue to fail us and we will not remain silent, because if we do, we fail another woman as the system has failed Chantelle and the women who came before her. Women whose names are part of a dark history we shall never forget; our sisters gone too soon because of the relentless need for power.
Chantelle & Marija Lourdes & Shannon & Maria Carmela &Antonia &Eleanor &Caroline & Silvana & Meryem & Margaret & Yvette & Karen & Christine & Catherine & Theresa & Lyudmila & Doris & Patricia & Katya & Josette & Pauline & Rachel & Vanessa & Jane & Maria & Emilia & Jacqueline & Sylvia & Gemma & Angela & Rose & Mary
As I round up my thoughts after this dark week of disbelief and anger, I will leave you with this thought; Women are not killed by men. Women are killed by the offspring of the patriarchy which still continues to run rampant in our society.
Let that sink in for a minute……