Last week, Zeit Online made available an extended report by the title Frauenmorde: Von ihren Männern getötet (Murdered women: killed by their men). While addressing the situation in Germany – yet not without some international comparisons – the article, and its alarmingly telling data (see following graph: “Number of people murdered by their (ex)-partner in Germany”), mostly resonated with recent news from Spain.
Only some ten days before Zeit‘s report was published, and right on the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, an extreme-right party in Madrid had refused to endorse a declaration on violence against women with the (predictably, ludicrous) argument that «There are also men who suffer violence from women and are killed by their wives» (source: The Guardian; see also El Pais report of the debate). In 2017, in Spain, there were 131 female and 17 male victims dying at the hands of their (ex)partner (source: Colectivo Profesional de Policía Municipal/Professional Group of the Municipal Police).
Made curious about the situation of both my Country of birth and the one where I live, I embarked in a quick search of the Italian and Dutch cases. Data from both Countries for 2017 basically confirm the German and Spanish statistics. In The Netherlands, 5 men (out of a total of 112 murders; 4,6%) and 18 women (out of 46; 39,1%) were killed by their (ex)partners (source, in Dutch only: CBS Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek/Statistics Netherlands). In the same year in Italy, 8 men (out of a total of 234 murders; 3,4%) and 54 women (out of 123; 43,9%) died at the hands of their (ex)partners (full report and data, in Italian: ISTAT Istituto Centrale di Statistica; summary, in English).
In times of roaring post-truth discourse (and therefore of fake news), it is hard to underestimate the importance that statistics can have for discussing social issues in a well-reasoned manner rather than out of an emotionally driven (aggressive) mood, mainly if not exclusively aimed – as Marc Bloch had already written in 1921 – at expressing «prejudices, hatreds, fears». Therefore, the video ‘On an average day’, made in 2017 by the above mentioned Statistics Netherlands, looks like a suited closing note for the present post.