‘Sylvia, Dalila, Aminata, Céline, Julie’: Their names are plastered on constructions and headers across France, rallying attention to their shared destiny. Each was murdered, allegedly by a current or former companion this year.

More than 130 women have died because of domestic violence this year solely in France, according to activists. The European Union report shows that France has a greater rate of domestic violence than most of its European counterparts. And frustrated activists have brought national attention to this issue which President Emmanuel Macron has called “France’s shame.”

Under cover of night, activists have pasted banners with the names of the dead and cries to action to French city walls. “Complaints ignored, women killed,” express the bold black letters on one such signage. They also posted anti-violence slogans on social media, tagging Macron’s name.

“There is far too much brutality against women everywhere in civilization, at work, in our private lives,” said Pauline, 28. “The male segment of the society must be informed of what they are doing to the other half.”

Two years after Macron made a campaign vow to stop the problem; his centrist French government has begun to work. A Justice Ministry statement issued earlier this month recognised authorities’ systematic incompetency to interrupt and prevent domestic violence killings. On Monday, the government will declare measures that are exacted to include seizing firearms from people speculated of domestic violence, prioritising police training. And to formally acknowledge “psychological violence” as a pattern of domestic violence.

EU survey of 42,000 women across all 28 member states in 2014, determined that 26 percent of French women respondents stated that they had been harmed by a companion since age 15, either bodily or sexually. That’s below the global median of 30%, according to UN Women. But its four percent above the EU average and the sixth-highest among EU countries.

Police inaction made nationwide headlines in France after Macron attended a hotline call centre in September. He overheard a call with a 57-year-old woman whose spouse had threatened to kill her. Macron caught a police officer on the other end tell the lady that he couldn’t help her.

Read Also: A Wall of Shoes to Raise Awareness about Domestic Violence in Turkey

Marches across France

In solidarity, tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Paris and other French cities on Saturday to oppose domestic violence. In Paris, the female activists chorused “Abuser, you’ve had it, women are in the street” and held purple posters displaying the names of female victims and slogans such as “not another murder more.” The women’s rights movement uses purple as symbolic colour. Other marches took place in French cities such as Lyon, Strasbourg, Bordeaux and Lille.

Posters read “Delphine, 33, strangled by her husband Reanud. Their four children were present. 115th feminicide” in Paris. Image: AP Photo/Francois Mori

President Emmanuel Macron showed his solidarity after the end of the demonstration.

The protests were held two days before the state is due to announce the results of an inquiry into domestic violence. The government is also prepared to declare a series of new rules intended at guarding women, the Justice and Interior Ministers and the Secretary of State for Gender Equality said in a collective opinion article in Le Parisien daily on Saturday. “We can, and we should do better,” they communicated.

The European Union report shows that France has a greater rate of domestic violence than most of its European counterparts.

“There is far too much brutality against women everywhere in civilization, at work, in our private lives,” said Pauline, 28. “The male segment of the society must be informed of what they are doing to the other half.”

Read Also: Around 137 Women Killed Globally Everyday Due To Domestic Violence

Image credit: Reuters

Saumya Rastogi is an intern with SheThePeople.TV

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