COVER

MORE EQUALITY, GREATER RISKS

TOM FENNELL November 11 1991
COVER

MORE EQUALITY, GREATER RISKS

TOM FENNELL November 11 1991

MORE EQUALITY, GREATER RISKS

On Dec. 6, 1989. when Marc Lépine stalked the halls of the engineering building at the University of Montreal with his .223CALIBRE sturm, Ruger semi-automatic rifle, he was hunting women. He spared the men in his path—then screamed “You're all a bunch of feminists” before he gunned down the 14 females who died during his murderous rampage. Across Canada, women reacted with bitter outrage, some claiming that the carnage was part of a deadly ** - '■ - ' m m - _ by vv : u ding to Statistics Canada, the rate of female rnurders in Canada has remained remarkably constant—at around 0.8 per 100,000 people—for almost 20 years. And, the experts m ' i z m - m * 1 _ _ _ as ' pine strike fear into the hearts of

women, they remain an aberration Said University of Alberta sociologist Roheit Silverman, a leading authority on murder: “If you were doing a male murder, it would be a flat Une. Marc Lépine was not a

trend.” Still, some experts say that the statistics hide some subtle changes. University of Victoria sociologist William McCarthy, who in association with University of Toronto sociologist Rosemary Gartner earlier

pubd a major study on Vancouver and Toronto, noted that 62 per cent der victims are killed in t ' m mem mm; mm they know intimately—a figure that has rethe female murder rate has not changed dra-men killed ;;m rmm m mm. - mm , . > the f ■ „ m n , m ‘ , m .mR: fmm 172 m 1 .7 mm mUin mat mmemm me. mm i thy, are greater numbers of younger, single women who are bemg murdered by strangers. The explanation, according to McCarthy,

is that over the past two decades, younger women have come to mm; ire of Asa result, they have increasingly become vulnerable to the same types of incidents that put men at risk of being murdered, such as being assaulted in an underground parking lot after work or late in the evening at a bar. Said McCarthy: i e way that types of lifestyles have greater homicide risks, females who lead these lifestyles also have greater homicide risks.” Another s t udy done by Gartner last year appears to support that contention. Examining the rate of female murder in 18 countries, s that in soci where women play a subservient role to men, female murder rates are low. But in Western societies where women have achieved a greater degree of independence the rates are higher. It is a chilling prospect: greater equality brings greater

TOM FENNELL