Shanquella Robinson Death is Investigated As A Femicide: Feminicide is a term that many Americans are unfamiliar with, despite it being a widely recognized gender-motivated crime, and it is being investigated as the murder of Shanquella Robinson. Robinson, a 25-year-old ex-Williamsburg State University student from North Carolina, passed away in October while residing in a five-star vacation rental in the Baja California Sur state of Mexico.
One of Robinson’s pals is a suspect in the case, and Mexican prosecutors are requesting that person be extradited. In relation to Robinson’s case, an arrest warrant was issued for the crime of femicide, or the killing of a woman because of her gender, according to Daniel de la Rosa, the attorney general for Baja California Sur, who revealed this to local media last week.
The case has not resulted in any charges, and the names of Robinson’s acquaintances have not been made public by the authorities. Although the US lacks legislation designating killings of women as a distinct crime from homicide, unlike Mexico and other Latin American nations, this does not necessarily indicate that killings of women are not occurring there at worrisome numbers, according to various experts.
According to Dabney P. Evans, director of the Emory University Center for Humanitarian Emergencies and expert on violence against women, “femicide happens all the time in the US, and many famous murder cases that we all have in our consciousness are actually femicide, but we don’t put that label on them.”
Here’s what you need to know about what constitutes femicide in Mexico, why gender-based violence is a major issue worldwide, and why academics believe that including femicide in US law could benefit women as the inquiry into Robinson’s killing progresses.
It’s Become A Crisis in Mexico
Femicide, which is defined as the “intentional murder of women because they are women,” is the most severe type of gender-based violence (GBV). Intimate and non-intimate femicide are the two types of femicide. The former describes the murder of women by their current or past partners, whereas the latter describes the murder of women by individuals they had no romantic contact.
Most nations treat femicide the same as homicide in terms of criminal law, however, Mexico is one of at least 16 nations that have made femicide a distinct crime. If found guilty, a person in Mexico might spend up to 60 years in prison. In Mexico, the distinction between femicide and murder, or unlawful killing, differs from state to state.
In addition, “if the victim was in the community, for example, and if she was killed and her body was in public,” said Beatriz Garca Nice, who heads the Wilson Center’s work on gender-based violence, “there might be a history of abuse — s*exual or not — and threats.” A recent web video purports to show Robinson and another individual getting into a physical argument inside a room.
Her father, Bernard Robinson, told CNN that the video shows his daughter getting struck on the head and thrown to the ground. When the video was shot and whether it captures the incident that caused Robinson’s death are both unknown. Although Mexico has laws prohibiting femicide, “the biggest problem is the execution,” according to Garca Nice.
According to her, the number of cases of gender-based violence is underreported in national statistics, and the legal system “underexecutes” the law. Nearly 95% of femicide crimes in Mexico, according to Garca Nice, go unpunished. There isn’t much of a possibility that you will be found guilty of femicide, even if you do it. And that’s one of the explanations for the continued high rates.
According to Alejandra Marquez, an assistant professor of Spanish at Michigan State University who specializes in gender and s*exuality in Latin America and the Caribbean, the “feminicidos” crisis in Mexico first came to light in the 1990s after hundreds of women were murdered in the border city of Ciudad Juarez.
The belief that “women are getting slain over there at the border” used to be prevalent, particularly in central Mexico, but Marquez told CNN that the phenomenon has spread nationwide and can no longer be disregarded.
Experts Think That More Work Needs to Be Done in the US
According to academics, some instances that may qualify as femicides are the disproportionate homicides of Black women, the crisis of Indigenous people who are either missing or murdered and the lethal shootings of women in Atlanta-area spas in 2021. “As a society, we must understand that these are not isolated incidents of mortality.”
According to Evans, a researcher at Emory University, these are in fact linked to patterns of masculine aggression, and we need to think more carefully about preventing that kind of violence. 2,059 women were slain by men in the US in 2020, according to an analysis of homicide data by the Violence Policy Center, and 89% of the victims knew their killers.
According to Evans, femicide legislation would not address the problems of toxic masculinity, patriarchy, and misogyny that cause gender-based violence, but the phrase could “enable us to discourse about this phenomenon” and stop it from occurring. The US has laws that address gender-based violence and systems to monitor domestic violence, but they are not perfect.
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The federal hate crime legislation includes violent or property crimes that are at least partially motivated by prejudice against a person’s racial, religious, s*exual, or ethnic background. The definition of a hate crime varies from state to state, and some governments do not address bias against women. Federal legislators renewed the Violence Against Women Act earlier this year.
The laws are designed to help survivors of femicide’s well-documented precursors, including domestic abuse, s*exual assault, and stalking. President Joe Biden stated that more has to be done to address the problem during a ceremony honoring the act’s passage in March.
Abuse of any kind should never occur, regardless of gender or s*exual orientation. Period. If they do, they ought to have access to the assistance and services they need to get through it. And we won’t stop working.
Gender-Based Violence is A Global Problem
According to a UN report released this week, over 56% of the 81,100 women and girls who were killed intentionally worldwide last year were either intimate partners or family members. According to the research, around 4 out of 10 homicides reported to police lack “contextual information to allow them to be identified and counted as gender-related killings,” making it difficult to fully depict the scale of gender-based violence.
— Jesse Pierre 🇭🇹🇨🇦 (@JessePierre_) November 19, 2022
According to Kalliopi Mingeirou, the head of UN Women’s Ending Violence Against Women Section, one of the organizations that put together the research, “These numbers are dangerously high, as we can see; yet, it’s just the tip of the iceberg.” According to Mingeirou, police cannot conduct a thorough investigation into femicide if it is not legally designated as one.
The lack of resources and training for those in charge of enforcing legislation is another obstacle to ending and preventing femicides. A world that respects their rights and their choices are what women and girls everywhere should have, according to Mingeirou. “Equal rights are required. We have a fundamental right to be free from violence because doing so will enable us to succeed and prosper in this world.”
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Jessa Martin is the author of Nogmagazine, A professional in writing by day, and novelist by night, she received her bachelor of arts in film from Howard University and her master of arts in media studies from the New School. A Brooklyn native, she is a lover of naps, cookie dough, and beaches, currently residing in the borough she loves, most likely multitasking.