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collectives castigate the “feminism washing” of the government

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Three years after the Grenelle on domestic violence, France is still a bad student in this area. On the occasion of the International Day for the fight against violence against women, feminist associations draw up an alarming observation of the lack of resources allocated to the cause and of political will.

With great fanfare, the government launched in 2019 a “Grenelle of domestic violence” intended to put an end to this scourge which has undermined France for decades. Three years later, the assessment of feminist associations is clear: nothing has changed or almost. The statistics are implacable: in 2022, the number of feminicides rises to 102 in November while the current year is not yet over, according to figures from the Féminicides collective by companions or ex. This is certainly less than in 2021 – when a record was broken with 122 women who died under the blows of their spouse – but it is as much as in 2020, the year during which 102 women lost their lives.

“For years, the French government has been practicing ‘feminism washing’. There are great declarations, postures, but in the end, these are only announcement effects, cowardly, disillusioned, Fabienne El-Khoury, door- word of the collective Dare feminism. The government is content only with marketing measures, just to smoke out public opinion. Anne-Cécile Mailfert, president of the Women’s Foundation, is more nuanced. “In 2019, at the time of the Grenelle of domestic violence, there was a real mobilization of political leaders and civil society, but the executive was unable to transform the trial.”

>> To see: “Domestic violence: ‘The problem in France is that the law is not applied'”

The Spanish example

A statement all the more frustrating that this violence is not inevitable. In Spain, the public authorities, which declared domestic violence a major national cause after a sixty-year-old woman was burned alive by her husband in 1997, have managed to reduce feminicides by 24% in less than 20 years. has become transpartisan in this country and the political leaders have been able to put the financial and human resources at the height of the stakes”, continues the activist Anne-Cécile Mailfert.

On the other side of the Pyrenees, a specific law against gender violence was in fact adopted in 2004, allowing in particular the establishment of special courts. Of the 3,500 courts in the country, 107 are exclusively dedicated to violence committed by a spouse or ex-companion. Spanish justice also provides for the establishment of a system of rights and special social assistance for female victims. Since then, the framework law has continued to be strengthened. In 2015, Spain transcribed into its law the Istanbul Convention, the first binding international treaty to combat violence against women. In 2017, a “State pact” guarantees a fund of one billion euros over five years. In 2019, the Supreme Court even reversed a decision in the trial of “la manada” (“the pack”) by sentencing its authors to fifteen years in prison.

Too slow justice, insufficient mechanisms

French feminist associations are not asking for anything else. “Our elected officials should release 1.5 billion euros to fight effectively against domestic violence. In 2019, France spent 5 euros per inhabitant to treat domestic violence when Spain pays 16, deplores Fabienne El- Khoury, who also denounces the weakness of human resources.Today, a woman must wait one to two years for her complaint to be processed.And 80% of complaints are dismissed, according to a ministerial report published in 2021. knows that it is after filing a complaint that women are most in danger: two-thirds of the women who died under the blows of their partner had previously lodged a complaint. collect them. Today, agents receive a simple PDF by email. Obviously, this is not enough.”

Some devices have been put in place after the Grenelle of domestic violence. As of September 2020, some 1,000 anti-reconciliation bracelets (BARs) have been made available. Problem, the question of consent is often an obstacle to wearing the bracelet. If an aggressor refuses to submit to it, the judge seized must request the opening of a criminal investigation to impose his port. As much time during which the victim is not protected. “In fact, these bracelets are too often used post-sentence when they should be used preventively”, recommends Anne-Cécile Mailfert. In May 2021, Éric Dupond-Moretti was also annoyed that only 61 bracelets were used out of the 1,000 distributed. “They are not intended to stay at the bottom of drawers,” he stormed. Six months later, 509 bracelets had been activated. A very meager figure if we compare with the 8,000 bracelets used in Spain since 2009, of which 2,000 are currently active.

“A mass problem that must be dealt with in detail”

Another problem, these bracelets are not fairly deployed on the territory. We are therefore unequally protected depending on where we live. And they do not respond to all situations. “In cases where the attacker has to pass near the victim’s home on his way to work, the device that rings every day can become a source of stress for the victim”, abounds the president of the Women’s Foundation. We are facing a mass problem that must be dealt with in detail.”

In the panel of preventive devices there is also the “serious danger telephone” (TGD). Since 2019, a public prosecutor can grant the granting of this geolocated device for a period of six months, renewable. A departmental steering committee meets every semester to manage the files. In 2020, there were 1,200 beneficiaries of this scheme. A figure below the needs, estimate the feminist collectives. According to them, these meetings should take place every two months and the number of telephones available should be increased.

Insufficient resources are finally added to the costs generated for the victims of violence. Between the costs of lawyers, experts, bailiffs, “women have to pay an average of 10,000 euros, denounces the Women’s Foundation in a study published on November 24. This report therefore recommends, in the case of cases of sexual violence, the abolition of the consignment, the amount of money required to bring a civil action in the event that the complaint is deemed abusive.Another recommendation: the revaluation of the scale of legal aid paid by the State to litigants for pay, partially or totally, their legal fees.


Finally, the number of accommodation places is still too low, underline the associations fighting against domestic violence. “Today there is one available place out of six in accommodation centers, Fabienne El-Khoury is alarmed. What do we do with the other five? There are currently 13 centers when 300 are needed to cover the needs. ” In 2019, the victims of physical and/or sexual violence committed by their spouse or ex-spouse were nevertheless estimated at 213,000 women.

Beyond the means, “it is above all a change of society that we are calling for. Femicides are only the tip of the iceberg, which hides a sexist and violent society. We need real pedagogical work with younger if we really want to get out of this scourge.”

Some glimmers of hope in this dark picture. “In 2020, during the year of the Covid, the figures for domestic violence were the lowest, notes Anne-Cécile Mailfert. It is not because there has not been less violence in the homes. , quite the contrary. But during the pandemic, the police, freed from drug trafficking cases, had time to deal with cases of domestic violence. We therefore know that things in France, as in Spain, can also change . You just have to put in the means.”

France 24-Trans

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