Horrific Cases of Femicide Spur Protests Across Africa

Brutal murders in Kenya, Somalia, and Cameroon have sparked protests
By Gina Carey,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 25, 2024 12:15 PM CST
Activists Demand Action Amid Wave of Femicide in Africa
Women hold candles and flowers during a "Dark Valentine" vigil to demonstrate against the rising cases of femicide, in downtown Nairobi, Kenya, February 14, 2024. According to Kenya police, at least 16 women are thought to have been killed by their partners since the beginning of this year.   (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)

Recent acts of femicide and gender-based violence across several African countries—including Kenya, Somalia, and Cameroon—have prompted protests and calls for government action. The details are harrowing, and include beheadings, immolation, and mutilation, with the majority of cases involving intimate partners, the New York Times reports. Women's rights advocates in Kenya organized a "Dark Valentine" vigil to honor women lost to femicide—31 women died there after being beaten, strangled, or beheaded in January alone.

  • The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace writes that an overwhelming number of Kenyan women experience gender-based violence—between 39% and 47%. An estimated 500 women have been murdered there since 2016, sparking widescale protests.
  • But the problem is far-reaching. Per the Times, the UN cites Africa as having the highest rate of gender-related killings of women, with 20,000 deaths recorded in 2022 (a number experts say is likely too low).
  • The Guardian reports that in Somalia, where three women were recently brutally murdered, there isn't a specific law against domestic violence. "Women are expected to be silent in Somalia," said Somali Women Development Centre Chair Maryam Taqal Huseina. "We are going to continue to make noise until there is change."
  • The Carnegie Endowment notes that women across the world have brought femicide to the forefront, and movements in Argentina and South Africa can serve as a road map for raising awareness and prompting government action.
  • While some men are allies, some men's rights activists and politicians in Africa are minimizing the problem, and sometimes placing the blame on women.
(More homicide stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.