Tens of Thousands of French Protestors Decry Violence Against Women

Tens of thousands of protestors marched across French cities on Saturday to demand action to eliminate violence against women

Outrage has been mounting in France over violence committed against women in the country, including domestic violence, women killed by men, sexual harassment, and abuse. 

Marches and demonstrations took place in Paris and other French cities to demand the government takes stronger action to address violence against women. The marches called for the government to dedicate 1 billion euros annually to the fight against gender-based violence. Currently, 360 million euros are spent on the issue.

French women are increasingly speaking out against gender-based violence. France has one of the highest rates of femicide in Europe, which is often defined as the murder of women by men, but in France tends to refer more specifically to women murdered at the hands of partners, ex-partners, or family members. 

So far this year, at least 101 women have been killed by their partner or ex-partner in France, bringing the statistic to about one woman dead every three days. More than 220,000 women have physical or sexual abuse committed against them by partners annually. 

Increased funding would go towards several initiatives meant to eliminate male violence against women, as well as to protect women who are in dangerous situations or help them leave abusive partners. Activists are calling for funding to create more shelters for women in order to help them escape domestic violence. Currently, only an estimated 40 percent of domestic violence victims are offered a place in a shelter. 

Legal funding is a huge ask as well for the increased funding. Only 12 percent of victims are able to get legal and psychological support. 

Other measures include special telephones for women in serious danger that include a button that directly alerts the police. As of September, the French Justice Ministry said that more than 2,500 phones were being deployed across the country. But activists have said this is not nearly enough for everyone. 

Experts and advocates also point at the criminal justice system, which will temporarily detain or possibly even imprison violent partners and ex-partners, but then they are released without any follow-up measures to protect former victims. 

In the U.S., nearly 20 people every minute are physically abused by an intimate partner, meaning more than 10 million adults experience domestic violence annually. One in four women experience sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Globally, intimate partner violence is a major crisis. According to reports and statistics published by the World Health Organization, 30 percent of women globally are subjected to either physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime. 

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