Domestic Violence is the Biggest Killer of Women

By Rebecca Anderson

The United Nations has reported that domestic violence is the biggest killer of women across the world.  The report looks at data from 2017, during which time 87,000 women were murdered and 58% of them by their partner or a family member.

The person most likely to kill a woman is her current or former partner. This means when women go on dates, they are meeting the person most likely to murder them.

Whilst men are more likely than women to be murdered, it is women who have cause to fear their intimate partners. The study found that 82% of people killed by their partner were women and 18% were men.

Domestic violence appears to have increased in the five years between 2012 and 2017, with domestic violence the cause of 48% of murders perpetrated against women in 2012 and 58% in 2017.

We live in a system that profits from and institutionalises the degradation of women. Capitalism needs women to work for free in the home – cooking, cleaning and looking after the kids – and can’t afford to provide the level of free childcare needed to free women from this additional burden. The Office of National Statistics reported in 2016 that in Britain, women still do the majority of childcare in the family – more than double that provided by men.

Sexism ideologically justifies women’s unpaid Labour and subservient position in the family. It teaches us from a young age to expect women to take on caring roles and our socialisation encourages gendered behaviour, like “toxic masculinity”. We need to root out sexism wherever we find it, fight for refuges to help women leave abusive relationships and for higher, equal wages and benefits to give women more financial independence from their partners.  We also need to go further than that and demand to participate in society on an equal basis to men, which means free childcare, laundrettes and workplace canteens so that domestic work is performed by society rather than individuals and, inevitably, women.


Red Flag is a socialist organisation campaigning within Labour for a democratically planned and owned economy. We campaign for grassroots democracy in the labour movement, militant defence of the oppressed and an anticapitalist programme for the Labour Party. Against Brexit, for free movement. Anticapitalist and internationalist.

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