Questions and answers
Why are you doing this project?
In the first instance, this project was conceived in response to the limitations of current criminal statistics with regard to femi(ni)cide cases. The fact that certain types of killings disproportionately affect women* and girls* demands disaggregate data that enable a deeper analysis of contexts and patterns.
The above interest was reinforced by the resolve to challenge the UNODC statement by Germany in 2014 on the investigation and prosecution of gender-related killings of women and girls: “Femicide (understood as the killing of women simply because of their gender and to which there is little or no state reaction) is not a phenomenon which can be found in Germany.”
We noticed a lack of recognition of this phenomenon at a governmental level and, consequently, that there is little data available on these crimes, and no accurate information about the numbers and their characteristics available. Ultimately, we are doing this project because we want to have a more accurate picture of this phenomenon in Germany and, thus, to provide useful information for societal actors such as civil society, scholars, and policymakers to better plan strategies to fight this phenomenon.
How do you do it?
We start building the database through volunteer work, viewing it as a project of long-term development. Currently, we gather information from media outlets, but our working plan is to broaden our sources of information, including police reports and legal cases. We work with GoogleAlerts and check the websites of other initiatives and organizations that gather information about these types of crimes, and receive information via feminist networks that we are connected with.
Our database contains approximately 50 information fields, including details about the victim, the crime scene and the perpetrator(s). It is important to state that due to German data regulations and poor reporting of cases, that it is often difficult to get relevant information about the cases. As we differentiate between different types of femi(ni)cide and ‘murder/killing’, in the latter we include cases that are not clearly identifiable as femi(ni)cides, either due to the lack of information or due to the circumstances of the crime.
Our aim is to provide geographical references to the crimes, to gather and systematize data in order to generate reports and to do analysis based on the data, keeping in mind that this project will be of use to people working on violence against women* and girls*.
How would you describe your approach?
Before we started this project in 2018, we made a mapping on databases on femi(ni)cide in Germany. We only found one project doing a very limited documentation. We are aware of the rapid developments in this area in recent years, however we find our approach is still needed. First, we want to work with a concept that does justice to the complexity of the phenomenon of femi(ni)cide. This means that we work with a broad and ongoing definition: we do not only document intimate femi(ni)cide, but other forms as well, such as racist femi(ni)cide, prostitution-related femi(ni)cide, non-intimate femi(ni)cide, family femi(ni)cide, child femi(ni)cide, lesbophobic femi(ni)cide, femi(ni)cide due to connection and transphobic femi(ni)cide.
Secondly, we also acknowledge and take seriously the work done on femi(ni)cide by scholars, policymakers, politicians and activists from the Global South. This does not mean to copy/paste what has been done for other contexts, but to translate it into the German context.
Third, we distance ourselves from attempts to instrumentalize violence against women* and girls* for racist politics and moral panicking. Fourth, we want to encourage civil society participation in the documentation process. Finally, we are also aware of the emergence of new similar projects, therefore we want to join forces and build bridges of collaboration with other projects and thus strengthen the fight against these crimes.