A thousand women murdered

Category: Innovation (small and large newsrooms)

Country/area: Spain

Organisation: RTVE.es

Organisation size: Small

Publication date: 19/06/2019

Credit: Alicia G. Montano, Miriam Hernanz, Estefanía de Antonio, Esther Pérez-Amat, Daniel Borrego Escot, Jessica Martín, Beatriz Gálvez, Raquel Navarro, Cristina Pérez, José Ángel Carpio, César Peña, Ana Ortas, Víctor Peña, Pelayo Prieto, Marcos Martín

Project description:

The website rtve.es/milmujeres is an interactive initiative created after intense research work to document who were the women murdered due to gender-based violence in Spain and how they used to live before being killed by their partners since the official records exist (January 1st, 2003).  The objective of the project was to make the victims visible and to document their lives from a new perspective, avoiding to portrait women’s deaths, but putting the focus on the sorrows of the murderers.

Impact reached:

The website impact of the has reached 45.000 unique users and 70.000 website visits so far. It has also transmitted on air to more than 1.530.000 people. The social media impact was huge, more than 140.000 impressions of the first tweet and more than 45.000 reproductions of the first video of the project. It has won the Silver and People’s Lovie Awards. It has also been awarded with one of the most prestigious laurels in Spain about gender violence: the  “Journalism against machismo” award of the Ministry of the Presidency, Relations with the Courts and Equality of the Government of Spain. It also received the IV Journalism against Gender Violence Awards Fundación Grupo Norte.

Therefore, as a part of the initiative users who have known the murdered women can participate in this tribute to the victims and collaborate in the documentation work of the project by sending a message through whatsapp. The response was unprecedented. There was a flood of new messages, providing new data, congratulating for the initiative, or sending us photos and audios explaining how the women murdered was like.

The news of the one thousand murdered was frontpage of all the media and our company broadcast features about our project in TV and Radio news programs. It was a chance to offer quality content and complete the story with all the feedback that we got from the relatives. 

Techniques/technologies used:

More than 20 people, including journalists, developers, designers, data analyzers and tv directors, have worked together to create one of the most ambitious database about the violence against women in Spain, describing life details of all the official victims in our country. 

The archive of RTVE, the official records of the Government about this kind of violence, the local newspapers and the judicial sentences were just some of the sources used to develop a database of the project. 

The data was extracted from an extensive database in which we crossed both information from the Spanish Delegation for Gender Violence and records from the Spanish Women’s Institute (all those cases prior to 2006 come from there), as well as other reference sources such as ibasque.com or femicidio.net. It was used some data analysis and visualisation tools such as Flourish for creating the graphics and chronologies. The design and format of the website is and original creation from the LAB Rtve.es and the website development is also created from scratch with code. 

Some of the technologies used are React, Node JS and Excel.

What was the hardest part of this project?

The hardest part was to recollect all the details and personal info about the victims, and to develop the biggest, updated and more complete database about gender violence in Spain, better even than the official one. 

From LAB RTVE.es, the innovation department developed this project with two goals: help prevent this kind of violence, show that there is not a specific profile of women who is victim to it, and repair the memory of the victims by giving the families the chance to pay homage to them. For that reason, this is an interactive project that aims to explain who these women were and how they lived before being victims of gender violence in Spain, with the help of the audience by trying to break the silence around a type of crime that can´t be considered private violence anymore. 

It is also an innovative project because it has been implemented by user generated content. The feedback of the relatives of the victims was essential for the project and that’s why we opened a phone number to get in touch with them by whatsapp messages and voice notes. The call to action was pushed by off line TV and Radio shows and it let us to get a lot of quality feedback to improve our database, after we verificate the information we got through the whatsapp.

The other big goal was to talk about what happens after the crime. The perpetrators who took their lives do not fit any profile, they do not share any social or economic traits. Therefore, we underline their names, their prison sentence and the financial compensation they had to pay to their families.

What can others learn from this project?

People can get conscious, raise awareness and help in prevention of this gender-based violence. In addition, finding statistical patterns to this social scourge by reviewing the data by community, province, age of the victims, as well as the origin of the aggressors can bring a new way of understanding this crime with more context and from a different perspective. 

Project links: