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07.07.2019 Europe

71 women killed in France since January

By RFI
Etienne LAURENT / EPA POOL / AFP
JUL 7, 2019 EUROPE
Etienne LAURENT / EPA POOL / AFP

Since January this year, some 71 women in France have been killed, drawing alarm to the rising incidents of femicide. To bring attention to the problem, the Nous Toutes association has called for demonstration on Saturday at the Place de la Repuplique in Paris.

The march along with other organized events this weekend aims to draw attention on the need to end sexual violence and sexism against women. “It's an opportunity to bring together the two [issues] and to offer our support to those families” said Caroline De Haas, a member of the association when speaking to the daily papers Le Parisien.

The association wants the government to wake up to the situation and take “urgent measures before the end of the summer” added De Haas.

She pointed to the number of women killed by their partner or ex-partner so far this year; a number she says that is higher than any other year.

“Many of these femicides could have been avoided” stressed the activist.

Failing system
The worrisome number of femicides in recent months in France is largely attributed to a failed system.

“There have been dysfunctions in hospitals, in social services, at the police stations” explains De Haas.

One recent case is that of 34 year-old Gülçin Kaplan, a mother of four children.

She had made five official complaints against her former husband but no concrete action was taken.

He finally stabbed her to death with a knife in the middle of a street on January 27.

A group of women published a tribute in the French daily Le Monde, demanding that the goverment do more for women, listing five measures that could be done immediately to better improve the security of women.

Change the system
To begin with, it wants regulations that ensure police can no longer refuse a woman's complaint.

It also wants:

  • Judges to follow through on imposing measures on an accused when warning signs are clearly visible, before it's too late
  • More space alotted to women's housing centres
  • Hospitals set up welcome centres for women where they can go to without being questioned if they feel unsafe at home
  • Re-open women's centres that were previously closed due to insufficient funding

Government response
Earlier this week on Monday, the socialist Senator Laurence Rossignol, who was also the minister of the Rights of Women under the former president François Hollande, wrote to ministers at the Justice and Interior ministry demanding an investigation into the rising cases of femicides in France that could have been, “and should have been avoided” said Rossignol.

The call for action on Saturday was also put together by the senator.

The government of Emmanuel Macron has responded to the calls and at the start of the week the spokesperson of the presidency said certain measures would be added to improve the care of victims of conjugal violence

Added to that Nicole Belloubet, the minister of Justice announced on Tuesday that she wants to generalize the wearing of an electronic bracelet on those already convicted or alleged to have committed domestic violence.

Known as DEPAR (Electronic Device for Protection Against Closeness), it is already in use in several European countries including Spain.

150 other Members of Parliament have also called on the government to generalize the use of the electronic bracelets.

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