The most dangerous place for a woman is not a dark street in a strange city. It is not in a war zone or a protest.

The most dangerous place for a woman is in her own home.

So says a new study from the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime. The study found that intimate partners or family members are responsible for the majority of female killings around the world.

The study explains that the majority of murder victims are men. But their killers are usually strangers. Women, the report states, are far more likely to be murdered by someone they know.

In 2017, about 87,000 women around the world were murdered. More than half of them, 58 percent, were killed by intimate partners or family members. Thirty percent of those murders were carried out by current or former lovers.

The report found that often these murders are not random. Rather, they are usually the result of past gender-related violence against the victim.

When an intimate partner murders a woman, the report states that jealousy and fear of abandonment are among the reasons.

However, it adds that women “are also killed by fathers, brothers, mothers, sisters and other family members because of their role and status as women.”

This kind of killing is often called femicide.

Where femicide is most likely

In 2017, Asia had the largest overall number, at 20,000, of women killed by intimate partners or family members. Africa followed with 19,000. Then came the Americas with 8,000 murders; Europe had 3,000 and Oceania had 300.

However, based on population, Africa and the Americas are the parts of the world where women are most at risk of this crime. The study found the rate in Africa is 3.1 per 100,000 female population.

In 2017, the intimate partner/family-related homicide rate was also high in the Americas, at 1.6 per 100,000 female population.

Europe is the area where the risk is lowest.



The study shows that deadly violence against women is on the rise.

The U.N. study experts suggest ways to fight the problem. These include improvements to criminal justice systems and how they deal with violence against women. They suggest that severe punishment for acts of violence against women will help.

They call for greater cooperation between police and justice systems and between health and social services.

The experts also claim that men need to be included in the battle against femicide. Educating boys and teens, they say, is an important part of the solution.

Exercise 1


Read the following vocabulary with your teacher.


intimate (adj.) - engaged in, involving, or marked by sex or sexual relations


murder (n.) - the crime of deliberately killing a person


random (adj.) - without definite aim, direction, rule, or method


gender (n.) - the state of being male or female


jealousy (n.) - an unhappy or angry feeling caused by the belief that someone you love (such as your husband or wife) likes or is liked by someone else


abandonment (n.) - the act of leaving someone and withdrawing protection, support, or help


role (n.) - the part that someone has in a family, society, or other group


status (n.) - position or rank in relation to others


femicide (n.) -  the killing of a woman or girl, in particular by a man and on account of her gender


Exercise 2


Answer these questions about the article.

  1. What is the most dangerous place for a woman?
  2. Who is the most responsible for violence against women?
  3. Are murders random?
  4. What could be the solution?


Exercise 3

Make a sentence.

Make sentences using these words.

random, gender, role, status


Exercise 4


Have a discussion on following questions.

  1. Have you ever hit a woman?
  2. Were you ever a victim of violence?
  3. What would you do if you would see a man hit his wife on the street?
  4. Who is responsible for this?


This lesson is based on a news article originally published by learningenglish.voanews.