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While Men Are Afraid of Rejection, Women Are Afraid of Being Murdered

by Ally McLaren

As women, we all know the precautions to take; don’t wear headphones, stay in well-lit areas, be aware of your surroundings, carry your keys between your fingers, watch your drinks, and don’t give men a reason to get angry at you or follow you home.


Although women do as much as we can not to be raped or murdered, calculations by the Femicide Census state that 1,425 women were killed by men between 2009 and 2018 - which equals one woman killed by a man every three days.


The reason that all these precautions still don’t work? 

Because women aren’t the problem. 

Until we address the real causes of toxic masculinity and deep-rooted misogynism in society, nothing is going to change.


Whether women are attacked by strangers or men known to them, the fact is clear that women are most at risk when men feel rejected in some way.

If I can’t have you - no one will


The Office for National Statistics (ONS) stated that between April 2020 and March 2021, 177 women were murdered in England and Wales. Of these women, where the suspect was known, 92% were killed by men, and 60% of the women killed knew their suspected attacker, with a third a current or former partner.


In 2021, 26 police forces across England and Wales reported that women represented 73% of domestic abuse victims that year, with 690,929 incidents of stalking and harassment recorded over that period. The National Centre for Domestic Violence reported that police recorded 1.5million abuse-related incidents and crimes in England and Wales in the year ending March 2022.


The Femicide Census 2020 found that the risk of serious assault and death is highest for a woman after she leaves an abusive relationship. 38% of women killed by an ex-partner from 2009 to 2018 were killed within the first month of separation, and 89% within the first year.


The women behind the statistics - how rejection leads to murder 


Alice Ruggles was 24 years old when she met Lance Corporal Trimaan ‘Harry’ Dhillon, aged 26, in 2016. When the pair entered into a relationship, she was unaware that Dhillon’s ex-girlfriend had taken out a restraining order on him. He soon began to coercively control Alice, isolating her from her friends and cheating on her. When she entered their relationship after seven months, he began stalking her, driving 100 miles from Edinburgh to Newcastle to spy on her and threatening to post revealing photographs. Alice reported Harry to the police when he left unwanted flowers and chocolates at her flat. A couple of months after their relationship ended, he broke into her flat in Newcastle and slit her throat, being sentenced to a minimum of 22 years in prison.


In 2018, 26-year-old Joshua Stimpson was jailed for stabbing his ex-girlfriend 75 times after she ended their relationship. 23-year-old Molly McLaren died in her car after Stimpson followed her to the gym and attacked her in the car park in broad daylight. The pair had been in a seven-month relationship, with Molly ending things just two weeks before he took her life. Following their breakup, Stimpson stalked Molly and harassed her and her family on social media. Molly was unaware that Josh had a history of stalking two of his previous partners, and he did not heed police’s warnings to stay away from Molly.


In 2016, 19-year-old Shana Grice reported her ex-partner Michael Lane, aged 27, to police five times over a six-month-period. Devastatingly, Shana was fined for ‘wasting police time’, before Michael broke into her home and slit her throat. 


Joshua Davies was just 16 when he murdered 15-year-old Rebecca Aylward in 2010 after she ended their three-month-relationship, killing her with a rock in the woods. When sentenced in 2011, the judge stated that he killed Rebecca “because of a deep-seated hatred."


How can we end femicide?


The Guardian’s End Femicide campaign links stalking, coercive control and pornography as motives behind the killings of hundreds of young women in 10 years.


After the horrific murder of Sarah Everard by Metropolitan Police Officer Wayne Couzens in 2021, violence against women was brought to the forefront of Westminster and discussed in the Houses of Parliament. There was a proposal to make misogyny a hate crime offence, but MPs voted to reject this bill.


The Domestic Abuse Act of 2021 was introduced as an Act of Parliament to tackle domestic violence, including emotional, controlling, coercive, economic and physical abuse. The Act provided a new statutory definition of domestic abuse and aims to strengthen the response and protection from agencies including the police and courts.


Moving forward, the onus needs to be on men and authorities to monitor and prevent this behaviour. In the cases above, women did everything right and reported their stalkers to the police, but not enough was done to save them. Through stricter laws, swifter and more responsive reactions from authorities, and better access to services, women may be able to be kept safe before it is too late. 


Focusing on the root causes of misogyny, including toxic masculinity, traditional gender roles, hatred towards women and online influences, we can try and tackle this issue from the bottom up. 

Men don’t want to be rejected, but women don’t want to be murdered because of it.


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