Homicides in Ottawa in 2022: almost half of the victims were women

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2022 Ottawa Homicides: Nearly Half of Victims Were Women

In Ottawa, several people gathered outside the house where Savanna Pikuyak was found dead in September 2022.

Six women and one teenage girl were killed in 2022 in Ottawa, accounting for nearly half of the 16 homicide victims. Police speak of a “significant” increase.

All of the female victims were racialized or Indigenous.

Some organizations believe that while all of these stories are different, they have a common denominator. They all show what violence against women can look like, especially in a pandemic context that exacerbates the difficult situations that many women face.

[Statistics] have shown us before the pandemic, and even after, that racialized women, black women, Indigenous women and non-binary people are at greater risk, said Pamela Twagirayezu, a member of the Coalition for Human Rights. Ottawa against violence against women.

The pandemic has shown us very, very clearly that there are members of our community who unfortunately live different lives behind closed doors .

The rise in the number of female homicide victims in Ottawa has police and violence against women organizations concerned. women.

The Special Investigations Unit, the watchdog of policing in Ontario, investigated just one of the 16 homicides that occurred in Ottawa.

Ottawa police investigated the remaining 15 homicides and seven victims were female, a significant increase, according to Inspector Tim Hodgins of the Ottawa Police Service's Major Investigations Branch (OPS). ).

The Ottawa Police Service has seen a marked increase in the presence of women among victims of 'homicides.

Over the past few years, statistically, about a quarter of our homicide victims have been women. So this year it's considerably higher than that, said Tim Hodgins.

In 2021, there were also 16 homicides, but only two victims were female .

According to the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability (OCFJR), killings of women and girls nationwide increased by 26% between 2019 and 2021.

89% of the alleged perpetrators of these murders were men.

OCFJR, which documents and investigates cases where women are killed because they are women and aims to end such violence, defines femicide as the killing of one or more women, primarily by men, because they are women.

The group also distinguishes between intimate and non-intimate femicide, but says the types can overlap.

Intimate partner femicide is the killing of women by a current partner or elder, regardless of gender.

Two of the seven Ottawa women were reportedly killed by current or former partners, as was another victim who was an elderly man.

Marie Gabriel's family and friends told CBC the 24-year-old was trapped in an abusive relationship with an older man when she was beaten to death in late March 2022.

Marie Gabriel, 24, was beaten to death inside her home on Heatherington Road. The defendant is the father of her two young children – a man with whom her family say she was trapped in an abusive relationship.

She had gone to a shelter, her family said, and was living in community housing while trying to work out a shared custody agreement.

78-year-old Yu Kun Xie was allegedly beaten by her longtime boyfriend on September 16 and reportedly died the following day.

The CFOJR also monitors non-intimate femicide, which it defines as involving the killing of women by someone with whom they have not had an intimate relationship. This may include family members or strangers.

On October 31, police found the lifeless body of 88-year-old Kieu Lam. She was reportedly killed by her two adult daughters.

The Canadian Femicide Office for Justice and Accountability also describes sexual femicide as instances where sexual violations and sexual violence result in the death of a woman or girl.

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Savanna Pikuyak, a young Inuk woman from Nunavut, moved to Ottawa in September 2022 to start a program at Algonquin College. She was found dead three days later.

On September 11, 22-year-old Savanna Pikuyak was stabbed to death by her roommate. She had left Nunavut for Ottawa three days earlier, after responding to a Facebook ad for a room to rent in the west end of the city.

Police in #x27;Ottawa accused the man who posted the ad of stabbing her to death. Savanna Pikuyak was found gagged and half-dressed, and police believe she was killed in an attempted sexual assault.

On June 26, 15-year-old Jasmine Ready was repeatedly fatally stabbed by a 21-year-old neighbor, while her 50-year-old mother was also killed trying to protect her.< /p>

Joshua Graves had previously been charged with stalking and attempting to kiss another girl three days before the fatal attack. It was his first criminal charge and he was released on bail under the supervision of his mother.

Before her deliberate attack on Jasmine Ready, the teenager's family had already told her to respect her limits and leave her alone.

Jasmine and Anne-Marie Ready, seen together in this photo, died in the attack. Anne-Marie's last act was to try to protect her daughter.

OCFJR also defines associated or related feminicide as the killing of a woman who was not the intended victim, sometimes referred to as a collateral victim.

This may be a woman who was trying to stop an attack on someone; another, was near another woman at high risk of violence or was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Sahur Yare, 20, was in a car when she was shot and killed on February 21.

Police say the bullet was fired from a another vehicle by a 16-year-old young offender with ties to Ottawa street gangs.

The death toll is horribly sad, Sergeant Nicole St. John said, who oversees the Ottawa Police Intimate Partner Violence Unit.

Ms. St. John said the number of reported offenses is down in the so-called traditional units of the violence against women police service – such as those that deal with sexual assault, child abuse and trafficking. human beings – but that could just mean that reports in general are down.

She does say that she has seen an increase in the severity of the types of violent behavior reported.

“[This is] just extreme violence. It makes you wonder what is going on and why.

—Nicole St. John, Ottawa Police Intimate Partner Violence Unit Lead

Homicide victims tend to have a level – some more complex than others – of vulnerability in our community. This does not necessarily predispose them to violence. This could be a factor in their deaths, added OPS Tim Hodgins.

This vulnerability can often add complexity to a case. But police have a duty to thoroughly investigate all deaths, added Tim Hodgins, and to bring criminal charges where appropriate.

Police are investigating after the death of 88-year-old Kieu Lam in late October.< /p>

Ottawa Police have either closed investigations or laid charges in all 15 homicide cases this year.

While Pamela Twagirayezu is saddened by the number and stories of women whose lives have been taken, it confirms what she already knew.

Ottawa has seen more than #x27;brazen acts of hate, Ms. Twagirayezu said, calling the deaths a collective crisis.

They are not strangers. They are members of our community. This person is no different from your sister, your cousin, your mother, your favorite teacher, she said.

There is no difference.

With information from Shaamini Yogaretnam of CBC News

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