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Is My Gender a Scary Thing to Make Me Die?

In 2022, around 48,800 women and girls worldwide were killed by their intimate partners or other family members. That’s more than 133 women or girls murdered every day.

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As I sit down to write this piece of mixed words, I’m wrestling with an outburst of emotions of anger, frustration, and fear. Anger at the persistent stream of femicides causing suffering in our communities. 

Frustration at the systemic failures that perpetuate gender-based violence. And fear—for myself, for my loved ones, for the countless women whose lives are cut short by senseless acts of brutality.

In broad terms, gender-related killings of women and girls can be defined as intentional killings with a gender-related motivation connected to its root causes, which may range from stereotyped gender roles and discrimination towards women and girls to unequal power relations between women and men in society.

Growing up, I was surrounded by strong women—not with muscles, but resilience and love—my grandmother, mother, aunties, and sisters. I was also around men, my dad, my uncles, and my brothers. They gave me a sense of security and a belief that the world is a safe place for women. 

Then there is the nightmare I had for years, and my hope is shattered. I never imagined that being a woman or identifying as a different gender could fill me with such fear and uncertainty. 

READ MORE: ‘Outrageous’: DC Sparks Fury After Hitting a Girl, Causing Her Serious Injuries

Each day, I wake up and scroll through the news, specifically social media, where all the media sources are full of reports of women being killed: She Was Brutally Murdered; Her Body Was Mutilated; She Was Set on Fire.

A scourge

In 2022, around 48,800 women and girls worldwide were killed by their intimate partners or other family members. This means that, on average, more than 133 women or girls were killed every day by someone in their own family.

These victims, these women, were daughters, mothers, sisters, and individuals with hopes, dreams, and aspirations. Yet, their lives were tragically cut short, leaving behind feelings of fear and despair among their surviving colleagues, who don’t know what to do to save themselves.

But why must there be any justification for the senseless killing of a woman? She cheated, she was a prostitute, she was this, she was that, and mostly will be motivated by jealousy. 

But why should there be a reason to justify this horrible killing that can create normalisation and injustice to life for women and girls? Can you now see? We’ve regressed from domestic violence to outright murder, and it’s a chilling realisation.

READ MORE: Rights Body Calls for Enactment of Domestic Violence Law

I have been asking myself many unanswered questions. Is this the world I want for my daughter? How can I possibly create a haven for her when I am gripped by fear? I ask myself sometimes, am I safe?

What about other women? What about Tanzanian women, who may not even have access to the news, information, and privilege? What about those who suffer silently, trapped by societal expectations and familial obligations? To parents, to leaders, to every individual.

Taking action

I urge you to reflect on your actions—your silence or inaction—and ask yourself, do they contribute to a safer world for our children? Remember, if you remain silent in the face of injustice, others may remain silent when you need their support. 

But if you raise your voice for others, they will do so for you. So please, stop being silent. Start acting now. Let’s refuse to tolerate any form of violence in our communities. Let’s start the conversation, raise awareness, and unite to end violence.

The world is not safe. But together, we can make it safer. Together, we can create a world where every woman, every child, and every person can live without fear.

READ MORE: Why Intimate Partner Violence Is Not a Family Issue

Thousands of people are protesting the slaying of women worldwide. Kenya’s anti-femicide demonstration on January 27, 2024, was the country’s and region’s largest event ever to call for attention to the senseless murder of women and girls there and beyond.

While every action matters, we must go beyond marches and demonstrations. We need concrete actions, especially from those in authorities, that would put an end to the indiscriminate murder of women within our communities. 

Moving forward, it is imperative to prioritise tangible measures over political rhetoric, fostering genuine political will to combat these pervasive issues. Let us advocate for stronger laws, better support systems, and greater awareness to protect the lives of women and Children. 

Together, we can build a world where every individual, regardless of gender, can thrive without fear of violence. Let’s stand united against femicide because every life lost is one too many. Together, we can create a safer, more just world for all.
Sesilia Shirima is a feminist, gender specialist, and clinician based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. She can be reached at or on X as @secyrose. The opinions expressed here are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of The Chanzo. If you are interested in publishing in this space, please contact our editors at

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5 Responses

  1. Thank you for raising this concern. I’m curious, out of the 48k, how many were fatalities in Tanzania during the same period?

    I find your article overly broad; could we focus on Tanzania initially? Let’s examine each region individually and work on finding solutions.

    Otherwise, it might feel like shouting into the void, with only a few people hearing your.

  2. Thank you Cecila for raising the issue of women killing with intimate partner. What contribute for us women be silent, lack of awareness on our own power, capacity and lack of confidence on our capacity. Secondly, lack of unity/solidarity among us women. Thirdly, those women who are highly educated, employees, access governments official and professional women, won’t came back to our fellow women who missed chance of accessing resources, opportunities and decision making power, as a results women lack solidarity, unity to raise voice at large society.

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