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All of these definitions refer to the idea that femicide is unique from non-gendered descriptions of murder and homicide.Instead, defining femicide exemplifies the fact that women are killed for different reasons and motives from those associated with typical descriptions of murder. Using Diana Russell's definition, femicide includes intimate partner femicide, lesbicide, racial femicide, serial femicide, mass femicide, honor killing related femicide, dowry and more.Other feminists place emphasis on the intention or purpose of the act being directed at females specifically because they are female; others include the killing of females by females.Often, the necessity of defining the murder of females separately from overall homicide is questioned.Here is part of what she wrote for the proceedings: "We must realize that a lot of homicide is in fact femicide. From the burning of witches in the past, to the more recent widespread custom of female infanticide in many societies, to the killing of women for "honor," we realize that femicide has been going on a long time.

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Some view it as too general and at risk of designating any negative action toward women as femicide and thereby diffusing its usefulness as a feminist tool.Another term used is feminicide, which is properly formed from the Latin femina, meaning "woman" ("femicide" being truncated).The current usage emerged with the 1970s feminist movements, which aimed to raise feminine consciousness and resistance against gender oppression.Russell's definition is not accepted by all scholars as the standard definition for femicide.Jacquelyn Campbell and Carol Runyan use the word femicide to reference "all killings of women regardless of motive or perpetrator status" These authors argue that motive is not always empirically possible to be determined, and so must be removed from the qualification for femicide in order to gather data.Examples of this include neglect of female children in preference of males, as well as dowry related murder where female in-laws kill women due to dowry disputes.

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