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How French women are acting against femicide?

Since the beginning of the year, 120 women have been killed by their partner or ex-partner in France. Women activists in Paris stuck around 1 200 posters on the streets to denounce these acts of violence. The Circular discussed with Esther Cachia, one of the militant, to learn more about the movement.

Salomé (21 years old), Georgette (84 years old), Johanna (27 years old), Marie-Claire (72 years old), Valerie (51 years old), Delphine (33 years old)… All these names have to be kept in our minds. That’s why some women are sticking posters on the Parisian streets. “To remember them. Those women who have suffered, have been injured and killed by their partner” said Esther Cachia. This 21-year-old girl joined the movement in September. At the beginning in August they were around 80 women, now they are more than 500. All these activists write messages and stick it in the streets in the memory of all their “sisters” who have been killed since January.

We glue these slogans on visible spots, on monuments such as ‘Le Louvre’ or ‘La Place de la République’ but also in the South and the North of Paris. We choose strategically a black and large font size because we want to show to people what is the truth: in France, a woman is killed every 48 hours by her partner or ex-partner just because she’s a woman.”

Each year, 219 000 women are victims of domestic violence in France. To stop this phenomenon, these activists decided to stick some “shock” sentences on the walls of their city: “Dad killed mommy with knife“, “We never kill by love“, “Stop femicide“, “More listened dead than alive“…

We just denounce reality. What we wrote are just facts. If someone is shocked or offended is because yes the reality is violent. It’s brutal to read the truth, some people prefer to shun it.

By these actions, Esther and the other participants wanted to denounce “a patriarchal system particularly present in France.” By acting directly on the street, they are reappropriating this space to express themselves. Even if this pratic is illegal, it seduced more and more women across the country. Now the movement count more than 1 000 activists. It gains ground and has expanded in several French cities, in Brussels and Switzerland. However, to not receive a fine, activists have to be discreet:

“We use to glue in the night when the sun goes down because it’s illegal to do this kind of action. But I think it’s legitimate. It’s the only way for us to be heard. Sometimes the law has to be put aside. We are just sticking some messages on the streets, it’s moral and it’s a necessity. The number of women who have been murdered by her partner is in constant increase. We have to fight against that.”

This year, 120 women have been murdered by their partner or ex-partner in France and we are just in October.
Source: Statistics of the French Ministry of the Interior / Infographics: Héloïse Vinale

Even if they take precautions, sometimes police forces catch them in the act. “I wasn’t personally present but one time, policemen gave a 400 euros fine to four young activists. In response, they told them the reason for the glueing but policemen retorted that they were just leaving an apartment where a girl called for domestic violence. They just did nothing for her because ‘she wouldn’t make a complaint.’ It’s an aberration! They let free a criminal and a few minutes later they gave a fine to young activists just because they were sticking some messages to denounce domestic violence.

The mission of these women is to make people aware of the urgency of the situation. They also want “more acts and fewer speeches” from the French government. “They should take more measures in favour of reducing the number of femicide in France. Create more urgency numbers, more budget and most importantly, give a particular training to the police forces who are receiving victims when they make a complaint. These are a necessity but I think it’s not sufficient. All the system have to change, we lived in a patriarchal society. We also have to sensibilize children: at school and in the family.”

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