'Unbearable' start to new year Three women brutally killed in one day in France

By Rek Hanibal Published on January 08, 2022
'Unbearable' start to new year Three women brutally killed in one day in France

On January 1, three women were killed in France, each allegedly by a partner or ex-partner, in what feminist campaigners described as an "unbearable" start to another year's tally of violence.

France is just one of many countries grappling with what the United Nations has called a global shadow pandemic of violence against women, exacerbated by Covid-19 lockdowns, which saw women confined at home with their abusers, increased financial pressures for many and limited access to support.

It has seen people take to the streets over the past year in protest over the brutal deaths of women and in some cases, their children at the hands of their current or former partners.

The New Year's Day killings in France shocked many and prompted a renewed call for stricter action against those who commit violence against women and girls. Marylee Breuil, the spokesperson for Nous Toutes, a French feminist campaign group, said that although the killings were "shocking," campaigners in the country were sad "not surprised" by the turn of events. "Violence doesn't stop with the New Year," she said.

According to police, a 56-year-old woman was found dead with a knife in her chest in Labry, in the country's northeast; officers were called to report a domestic disturbance on January 1. A man has been placed under formal investigation for the crime of "murder of a partner."

In the second case, a 28-year-old female military recruit was found stabbed to death near Saumur in western France, according to the town's prosecutor. A 21-year-old man, a soldier, was detained in relation to her death; investigators suspect a possible killing by her partner.

Then, the body of a 45-year-old woman was found in the trunk of a car in Nice. According to Maud Marty, she had been strangled, deputy prosecutor in the southern city. Prosecutors have launched formal investigations for manslaughter and intentional homicide against her ex-husband, 60.

Across Europe, cases of violence against women are stoking growing outrage. In Greece, where 17 femicides were recorded in 2021, according to public broadcaster ERT, the government was criticized for rejecting an opposition amendment that would have established institutional recognition of the term femicide. In November, after a 48-year-old woman was stabbed 23 times by her husband in Thessaloniki, opposition leader Alexis Tsipras posted on Facebook: "There should be no political disputes when we dramatically experience the effects of gender-based violence daily."

In the United Kingdom, following the March kidnap and murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard by a serving male police officer and a heavy-handed police crackdown on a vigil in her memory, activists criticized what they say is a culture of misogyny within policing.

Meanwhile, in comments broadcast in December, Pope Francis said that men who commit violence against women engage in something that is "almost satanic." Police figures released in Italy in November showed that there were about 90 episodes of violence against women in the country every day and that 62% were domestic violence cases.

Rek Hanibal

Rek Hanibal

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