What The Femicide In London Says About Black Women Not Being Protected

One of my favourite feminist quotes is by Letty Cottin Pogrebin. In it, she said: “When men are oppressed, it’s a tragedy. When women are oppressed it’s tradition”.

Whenever I see how women’s deaths and cases of femicide never cause a global revolution, I think of that quote.

I thought of that quote when I observed the little support given to the murders of women like Augusta Osedion and Olamide Omajuwa Alli. That quote came to mind last year when I noticed how compared to the deaths of popular Nigerian male singers like Mohbad, the energy to create vigils and hold candlelight nights in multiple Nigerian states for Austa did not occur to most people.

Now, I was reminded of that quote when I read this BBC article about how Black women are experiencing a higher level of femicide than any other ethnic group in London, England. 

The study which was carried out by the P.A News Agency said that 2023 saw a 62% increase in Black women victims of femicide. This was following a 43% recording of Black women who had been murdered in 2022.

What I find interesting, is that across societies, Black people are said to be very communal people. This is such that we are touted to be hospitable to strangers and with open arms.

But where does that culture come to play in the violence that Black women on the continent and in the diaspora continually face? Where does that community and protection come to play when Black women in London are said to be the ethnic group experiencing the highest cases of femicide and gender-based murder?

Even more, can we truly say that we practice a culture that protects women and children if a Black woman’s murder cannot stop the world and cause us to create multiple protests in several cities until justice is served? Can we truly say that Black women belong to a “community” if Black women can expect to see uncles who molested them as children at family gatherings and events? Can we say that Black girls are not an endangered species if instead of attacking Black men who groom younger women, we instead call the prepubescent girls they groom “fast” and insult them as too aware for their age? 

We often speak about “community” and the subsequent death of it amongst Black people but we must ask if that community ever existed for Black women’s protection. 

Where do Black girls watching get a sense of community if they see how female rappers like Megan Thee Stallion get bullied by mostly Black people because she had the courage to report Black men like Tory Lanez for shooting her? Does community for Black women exist where both Black women and children are if Black women cannot expect the world to stop should they encounter sexual and physical abuse?

Speaking with Yinka, she says that Black women’s murders are not taken seriously because women are not valued in the general society.

In her words: “It’s the idea that women are not precious members of the society and that anything bad that happens to women is due to a moral failing on our part. It doesn’t matter how the death happened, they would either say it wouldn’t have happened if she was a “good woman” or “feminine”.

I was telling a friend yesterday that if a man is killed by a woman he hooked up with a day before, the reaction would be “Women are evil”. But if a woman is killed by her own husband, the reactions would most likely be: “I can’t pity her because when we tell these women to leave their abusive marriages, they stay for money or sex etc.” And if she’s killed in the process of leaving they would say she probably destroyed his life and took all his money.”

She went on to say: “I remember when the Ekwueme singer died some people tried to spin a narrative that her husband killed her because she’s sleeping with Moses Bliss.   

The worst mistake a Black woman can make is dying from her interaction with a man. It doesn’t matter how she encountered death, she would be blamed.”

The reality is that community, protection and being valued are myths for Black women most of the time.

Suppose we do not actively see Black women as human. In that case, it is only to be expected that the dehumanisation of Black women in places like London will not be seen as serious enough to cause a revolution.

Recent Articles

Related Articles