Paris march for reform of domestic violence law



(23 Nov 2019) Several thousand protesters marched through Paris on Saturday to demand a national wake-up call and more government investment to prevent deadly domestic violence against women, a problem that President Emmanuel Macron calls “France’s shame.”
A wave of purple flags and signs snaked from the Place de la Republique through eastern Paris amid an unprecedented public campaign to decry violence against women – and honor the 130 women that activists say have been killed in France this year by a current or former partner.
That’s about one every two or three days.
“This has to stop. We need respect and better coexistence,” said 54-year-old Béatrice Donnard, an activist with NousToutes (UsAll) association.
While France has a progressive reputation and pushes for women’s rights around the world, it has among the highest rates in Europe of domestic violence, in part because of a poor police response to reports of abuse.
Many of the women killed this year had previously sought help from police.
“We would like for the people who are in contact with victims of violence to get a proper training, in hospitals, police stations…there are real problems within the justice system,” said Alyssa Ahrabare, a spokesperson for NGO Osez le Féminism (Try feminism).
At Saturday’s march, French film and TV stars joined abuse victims and activists calling for an end to “femicide.”
Many held banners reading “Sick of Rape.”
The protest came on the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and is aimed at pressuring the French government before it unveils new measures Monday to tackle the problem.
The measures are expected to include seizing firearms from people suspected of domestic violence and prioritizing police training so they won’t brush off women’s complaints as a private affair.
Some of Saturday’s marchers want 1 billion euros in government investment, though the funding is expected to fall far short of that.

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