Paris -- Isabelle, Patricia, Céline, Laura…these are a few names of the 104 women murdered since the beginning of the year in France. A collective of women is making sure that everyone in Paris remembers their names.
The below chart from Eurostat shows statistics on the number of women murdered as the result of violence committed by their spouses, intimate partners or family members, in 19 European nations.
A group of nearly 100 women has been covering the streets of Paris at night with the names of those victims. This week, more than 250 collages have already been plastered on Parisian walls with shocking messages in big, black letters describing the killings and naming the victims. The goal? Bringing awareness to the extreme violence that these women faced and push for political action in France.
On Saturday, they targeted the Louvre Pyramid. About 20 women glued slogans and victims’ names onto the famous glass pyramid. They managed to assemble three messages including "Dad killed mum" and snap some pictures, before being stopped by security who immediately took the signs down. The pictures were released on social media the next morning.
Marguerite Stern, a 28-year-old feminist activist, launched this operation on social media two weeks ago. The street protest is now gaining traction and already expanded to 30 French cities including Lyon and Bordeaux but also crossing borders into Belgium and Switzerland.
"In the street, we are supposed to be discreet, quiet. We write big messages that are very visible and I think women are attracted by that as well, to take the street back," Marguerite said. “Now we are receiving messages [from] families who are asking us to pay tribute to their own victims in their families."
French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe called a forum around domestic violence in early September and announced that 5 million euros would be allocated to the creation of temporary accommodation for women fleeing violent homes. But for the collective, these measures are not enough.
“In fact I think the government is trying to make us silent by talking," said Stern. "But at the end to really act, they need to give money”. According to Stern, 1 billion euros is what is needed to combat violence against women.