PARIS — Tens of thousands of protesters marched Saturday through Paris and other French cities to demand more government action to prevent violence against women. This protest comes amid increasing outrage in France about the killing of women by their partners. French women also speak out more frequently about sexual harassment, abuse and discrimination.
Protesters marched in Paris behind a large banner saying “Stop sexist and sexual violence.”
“We are always putting the blame on the women,” Parisian demonstrator Ghislaine Gireire-Revalier said, expressing sympathy for women who are trapped in violent domestic situations. “What we forget is the phenomenon of being in one’s grip … little by little it’s like a spider that surrounds you in its web.”
Groups fighting violence against women said at least 101 women have been killed by their partner or ex-partner in France so far this year — about one woman every three days. According to 2017 national studies, more than 220,000 women suffer sexual or physical abuse from their partners each year.
Activists are urging President Emmanuel Macron’s government to dedicate 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) each year to fight violence against women, instead of 360 million ($406 million) spent now, in part to create more shelters.
Demonstrator Meryll Le Goff said “there are measures that have been put into effect like the telephone for those in serious danger,” a special phone with a button to push to alert police. According to the Justice Ministry, more than 2,500 of these phones had been deployed across the country by September.
“But there aren’t enough for everyone,” Le Goff said. “Measures half done, men who are detained temporarily or even imprisoned but are eventually released without any measures that follow … that’s the problem.”
Protests take place as part of an international week of actions to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.