People have taken to the streets in protest of the brutal killings of women and sometimes their children by their former or current partners over the past year.
Many were shocked by the New Year’s Day murders in France. This prompted renewed calls for tougher punishments of those who perpetrate violence against women or girls. Marylie Breuil spoke for Nous Toutes in France, a feminist campaign group. She said that the killings were shocking but that campaigners in France were not surprised at the result. She said, “Violence does not stop with the New Year.”
Police report that a 56 year-old woman was found with a knife in her chest after Labry police officers responded to calls about a domestic disturbance. Official investigation has begun into the case of “murder of an accomplice” in which a man is being investigated.
According to the prosecutor of the town, the second case involved a 28-year old female military recruit who was found stabbed to death in western France near Saumur. In connection to her death, investigators have detained a 21 year-old soldier.
The body of a 45 year-old woman was discovered in the trunk of an automobile in Nice. Maud Marty said that she believed she had been strangled. Her ex-husband, 60, has been the subject of formal investigations by authorities into manslaughter as well as intentional homicide.
Europe is seeing a rise in violence against women. The government of Greece was criticized for refusing to accept an opposition amendment that would have recognized the term femicide as institutionally recognized. In Greece, 17 femicides were reported in 2021, according to public broadcaster ERT. After a 48-year old woman was stabbed 23-times by her husband in Thessaloniki, Alexis Tsipras, the opposition leader, posted on Facebook: “There should not be any political disputes when we experience the dramatic effects of gender-based violence on daily basis.
Activist: Women should be heard
France’s President Emmanuel Macron was urged to take action after the first deaths were reported on January 1. Nous Toutes tweeted that it was impossible to start this new count again.
Breuil stressed that “65% of these women could be saved if things were managed correctly, if their grievances were taken up and if the women were listened to,”
French President Francois Hollande quickly condemned the January 1 massacres. Elisabeth Moreno, Equality Minister, tweeted that she was saddened by the deaths and that she felt for the children of the victims and their families. She stated that the police, magistrates and health services, as well as other bodies, are “constantly mobilized” in order to combat “this scourge.” However, campaigners remain dissatisfied with the government’s response to these tragedies.
Breuil explained that, “Following the three Feminisms that occurred within 24 hours in France, the only thing that happened was that the minister for equality went to talk with the associations.”
It is not the first time that the French government has been criticized for its handling domestic violence.
Breuil stated that Nous Toutes maintained that Macron and his government were “completely out-of-step with what’s happening on French territory.” She added that Macron and his government “remain silent, and that is shameful.”
Five officers were sanctioned this week in connection to Daoud’s murder, according to CNN’s spokesperson.
Breuil is critical about the French police who she claims are not properly trained to handle these types of cases.
“Tip of an Iceberg”
Daoud was one of 113 women killed in 2021 in France by their current or former partners, according to French advocacy group Féminicides par compagnons ou ex (Femicides by partners or exes).
This is an increase from 2020 when 102 women were murdered by their ex-partners or partners, according to an Interior Ministry agency linked to the French National Police. The same body reported that 121 women died in 2018 and another 146 were killed in 2019 by their ex-partners or current partners. The government figures for 2021 are not yet available.
French penal law recognizes the “murder by a spouse” but does no distinguish between male or female victims. Accordingly, “femicide” is not an official term.
Breuil said that although the statistics are valuable, Nous Toutes insists that the figures “only reflect the extent of abuses occurring within couples.” She stated that statistics “are only the tip” of the iceberg and stressed that abuses occurring before murders are common.
The true cost of femicide
Spain previously recognized as gender-based violence any murders of women that were committed by someone they were in a relationship or with.
However, the official statistics regarding gender-based violence will now include all murders of women and children in which gender has been deemed to be a factor.
These five categories cover murders of women related to sexual violence. The “vicarious Femicide” category includes the “murdering of a woman, or minor children, by an individual to inflict injury or harm on another woman.”
Recent cases involving violence against women, and their children, have shaken Spain.
According to the news agency, the court document stated that “the plan of the accused was for his ex-partner to suffer the greatest pain she could picture, by deliberately creating uncertainty about the fate Olivia and Anna had suffered at His hands.”
Irene Montero, equality minister, stated that the new system would count all “sexist murders by women” because they were women. She stated in a government press release that to name feminicides was to do justice and the most basic exercise for reparation with all victims.
Montero stated that “we are making progress towards making all forms sexist violence visible so that we can implement the public policies necessary for their elimination.” What you don’t name, is not there.”
French campaigners are supportive of this move and want a similar framework to their country. Nous Toutes would like the femicides of young girls, and women other than couples, “to also be counted” so that we can see the extent of abuse against women in France,” stated Breuil.
Breuil concluded that the French society is ready to change because it recognizes that abuses can be prevented and are not inevitable.
CNN’s Duarte Mendonca, Anaëlle Jonah, Chris Liakos and Camille Knight contributed to this report.