In France, women demand an end to femicide now, without delay!

On Saturday, the French women’s organization Féminicides par compagnons ou ex reported a woman in Perpignan had been killed by her partner on Friday, July 5. That murder raised the number of women killed by partners this year in France to 74. Thanks to the work of various women’s organizations, for the past few days French media have been filled with articles concerning women killed by current and ex-partners, femicide, and the complete inaction of the State. On Saturday, tens of thousands of women and supporters protested in the streets of Paris. According to Nous Toutes, on Saturday, over 60,000 women and supporters across France protested and demanded action on Saturday. Today, the French press reported that, on Saturday, July 6, a woman in Yvelines, not far from Paris, was killed by her partner, raising the death toll to 75. The French government responded that they would start doing something in September. Why wait until September? Because August is vacation. Nous Toutes replied, “Monsieur le Président, les violences ne prennent pas de vacances. Nous ne pouvons pas attendre le 3 septembre. Des mesures peuvent être prises avant l’été pour faire cesser les féminicides.” Violence does not take a vacation. 

Tomorrow, women will go to the police to file complaints that will be refused.” 

In 2016, 123 women in France were killed by their current or former partners. Their complaints were refused. In 2017, 130 women in France were killed by their partners or ex partners. Their complaints were refused. Prominent women and women unknown to the public agree, “It’s a massacre.” Their assessment is refused. According to Féminicides par compagnons ou ex, last week alone, four women were killed by their current or former partners. Their complaints were refused. Gülçin Kaplan lodged five formal complaints against her former husband. Police did nothing, and in doing nothing refused those complaints. In January, Gülçin Kaplan was stabbed to death by her former husband. That was January. 

The women are killed by their current or former partners. The murderers are covered, embraced, supported and protected by the State. This happens everywhere. In England, rape survivors are disbelieved and viciously, intrusively cross examinedIn Indonesia, a woman provides damning evidence of her employer’s sexual harassment, and she’s sentenced to six months in jail. And that’s just from today’s news. Women are assaulted with impunity by their partners because their partners have been given immunity by the State. While France is not exceptional, the mobilization by women in France remains noteworthy.

Across France, women are saying, first, that femicide exists in France and that it must be included in French law. As of now, femicide is considered a “sociological” phenomenon, not a legal or criminal oneWomen are saying that femicide exists in France, and the State must stop claiming it never imagined such things could happen “at home”Across France, women are saying that words are fine, but concrete and immediate actions are demanded, and they point to Spain’s recent engagements with femicide, engagements in concrete policy implementationsAcross France, women are saying, “Never again!” and “Stop the massacre!” Across France, women are demanding an emergency plan that recognizes the urgency of the massacre, of the threat to women’s daily lives and futuresAcross France, women are demanding to know what exactly is the value of a woman’s life.

Across France, women are demanding action now. September is too late to start a “national debate”. In fact, July is too late for that debate. The time for action is now, because tomorrow, a woman will go to the police files complaints that will be refused.

(Photo Credit 1: France Culture / Denis Meyer / Hans Lucas / AFP)

(Photo Credit 2: Panorama)

About Dan Moshenberg

Dan Moshenberg is an organizer educator who has worked with various social movements in the United States and South Africa. Find him on Twitter at @danwibg.