A group of women sit around a table in a Halifax sports bar. They’re meeting for the first time but they’re not talking about sports—they’re talking about murder.
Earlier this winter, nine women from a Facebook group called Halifax Murderinos got together. They’re followers of a podcast called My Favorite Murder, hosted by American women Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff. In each episode, the hosts tell each other their favourite true-crime stories.
The podcast, which has now produced over 100 episodes, has amassed a massive following and is particularly popular among women.
The podcast often discusses violence against women and encourages women to look out for themselves. Followers refer to themselves as “murderinos”, and Facebook groups like Halifax Murderinos are springing up around the world.
Elle Kaufman and Gwyneth Christoffel, both 22-year-olds in Halifax, started the local page. Christoffel says true-crime stories have interested her for years, but it’s hard to find people to share the interest with.
“It has spurred other women to share their interest and create a community,” Christoffel says of the group. “They take it seriously and focus on the victims.”
Kaufman feels the same. “I guess I just think that normalizing women having an interest in things that affect women is really important,” she says. “And having an open dialogue is okay, and there’s always a lot more resources than you feel like there are. If you listen to My Favorite Murder or do research on crime or listen to other crime podcasts a lot of it is sexualized and gender-based violence.”
Her point is reflected in the stories that are shared on the My Favorite Murder Facebook page. People have posted about the recent trial of Christopher Garnier, convicted of murdering off-duty Truro police officer Catherine Campbell, several times.
Both Kaufman and Christoffel hope that their Facebook page will help spread awareness for women’s safety and for organizations that aim to eliminate violence. My Favorite Murder’s hosts donate money from ticket sales and fan donations to End the Backlog, an organization that aims to have untested rape kits tested so that victims of assault can pursue legal action.
The women who attended the last meet-up plan to get together again soon. Comments on the Facebook page following the meet-up say things like, “I had a really fun time! I feel like the community they talk about on the show was personified!”
As the Halifax Murderinos leave the gathering, they yell the Murderino slogan: “Stay sexy and don’t get murdered!”