Femicide in France: Woman stabbed to death by partner in front of three children

A young French woman in Le Havre was killed after being stabbed 14 times by her male partner, as their three children watched in horror. This comes amid a growing campaign against femicide in France.

Femicide in France: Woman stabbed to death by partner in front of three children
Flowers and a placard reading "100" on a fence marking the site where a woman was found dead in Cagnes-sur-Mer, making her the 100th victim of femicide in France. AFP

The man, 37, killed his 27-year-old partner during a dispute in the northern port city of Le Havre on Monday as they were in the process of separation,  prosecutors said in a statement late Tuesday. Their children, aged six, four and two, looked on.

“The accused confessed to what happened and said he acted out of fear that the victim would prevent him from seeing his children,” the statement said.

The mother died instantly and the man was arrested shortly afterward.

Police sources said the stabbing happened in front of a supermarket.

The accused has been placed in a detention and will appear before a judge who will decide on the charges.

Police already involved

Police had already intervened at the couple's home a week earlier, when the woman said she had fled through a window after being threatened by her partner
with a knife.

He was detained at the time but it was decided there was insufficient basis for further action.

According to government statistics, a total of 121 women were killed by their partner or former partner in France last year, equating to one death every three days.

The government of President Emmanuel Macron has embarked on a major consultation on domestic violence in order to stop femicide or gender-based murder and violence against women.

The problem has become all the more pressing following a new spate of such killings already this year.

According to French associations battling violence against women such as NousToutes and Fondation des Femmes, 106 women have mow been killed in such
crimes so far in 2019.

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Tens of thousands march in Paris to protest murder of women

Tens of thousands marched in Paris on Saturday calling for an end to gender violence and femicide in a country where at least 116 women have been killed by current or former partners this year.

Tens of thousands march in Paris to protest murder of women
Protesters against femicide hold up signs referencing Roman Polanski. Photo: Alain Jocard/AFP
Central Paris was awash in a sea of purple — the colour adopted for the campaign — as several protesters held up placards bearing the image of a relative or friend killed in gender violence.
Some signs bore the words “Break the silence, not women,” and “Aggressor, stalker, you are done for, the women are in the street”. “In 32 femicides, it's Christmas,” read another.
A count by the Occurrence consultancy, commissioned by the news media including AFP, put the turnout in the French capital at 49,000. Feminist collective #NousToutes (“All of Us”) meanwhile said 100,000 marched in Paris, hailing it as “the biggest march against gender-based violence in French history”.
The Paris march was one of 30 organised throughout France involving nearly 70 organisations, political parties, unions and associations.
“This will be a historic march,” said Caroline De Haas, one of the Paris organisers, adding that “the level of awareness is moving at breakneck speed.”
This combination of handout pictures created on November 21, 2019 shows victims of femicide who died in France in 2019. Photo: Family Handouts/AFP
Women killed every three days
A total of 116 women have been murdered in France so far this year by their husband, partner or ex-partner, according to an AFP investigation. The group “Femicides by companions or ex” meanwhile puts the toll at 137.
Some 121 were killed in France last year, according to official figures. One woman is killed in France every three days by their partner or ex-partner, while marital violence affects 220,000 Frenchwomen every year.       
“We can no longer count the number of cases where femicides could have been avoided,” the organisers said on Facebook. “With this march, we will make the public authorities take appropriate measures.”
Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet has said: “Our system is not working to protect these women.”
The government is expected to announce about 40 measures on Monday to tackle the scourge.
De Haas and other activists have said a billion euros needs to be invested to address the problem. But the office of France's equality ministry said it has put aside 361.5 million euros ($398 million) a year.
The killings in France are part of a global scourge that shows no signs of abating, with 87,000 women and girls killed in 2017 according to the UN — over half of them killed either by their spouse, partner or own family.
In Russia meanwhile, nearly 200 people gathered in a Moscow park on Saturday to denounce a proposed law designed to toughen sanctions for domestic violence.
March organiser Andrey Kormukhin, a Russian Orthodox activist, said existing laws already protected women sufficiently and argued that the new proposals went against “traditional family values”.
The marches across France come ahead of the UN's International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which is on Monday.