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Femicides in Austria: Why the number of feminicides is increasing
Femicides in Austria: Why the number of feminicides is increasing

28 women. By November 25, 2021, 28 women had been murdered in Austria. Today is the international day against violence against women: We spoke to experts about what causes femicides …

women murders
women murders

"With a view to the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, we are drawing a sad balance," said Klaudia Frieben, Chairwoman of the Austrian Women's Association. "In Austria we have a series of femicides, but the federal government is not responding to the repeated demands of violence protection and women's organizations to finally equip violence prevention with the necessary financial and human resources." That's why we will continue to be loud. And report about it - until something finally changes and all women in Austria can lead a safe life.

This is extrapolated in this country murdered a woman almost every two weeks. In addition, there are 51 attempted murders or cases of severe violence against women, 47 of them allegedly by (ex) partners, acquaintances or a family member. In Austria, every fifth woman from the age of 15 is exposed to physical and / or sexual violence.

A similar balance had to be drawn in 2020: 24 murders of women by perpetrators with whom the victim was in a family or relationship. According to estimates by the United Nations, it is worldwide 137 femicides that are perpetrated daily (!) will. It is important to clearly identify them as such. They should no longer be referred to as "family tragedies" or "relationship dramas".

Maria Rösslhumer, managing director of the Association of Autonomous Austrian Women's Shelters, explains why: "They are crimes against women because they are women. The patriarchal system of thought, which is still extremely firmly anchored in our social thinking, is clearly to blame. Many men, not just those from other countries of origin, still believe that they more rights based on their gender and have claims. They often see women as property and cannot stand it when they evade them. "Violence against women occurs in all social classes, nations and family relationships. The perpetrators are often close to their victims - mostly family members or (Ex)-Partner.

"If you draw a clear line, it often means your death sentence."

A 49-year-old was only found in the Mistelbach district on the night from Sunday to Monday. The woman was lying lifeless next to a gas station. An autopsy ordered by the prosecutor revealed that she was probably hit. The significant other was arrested.

We also remember the case of Nadine, the tobacconist who, after an attack on her at the beginning of April - her ex poured gasoline on her and set on fire - was deceased. You and the perpetrator are said to have had an on-off relationship. For Rösslhumer this is an indication that fear dominated in this constellation: "He apparently managed to get her back again and again. That's something we can see in a lot of women. They go back to their ex because they fear that he will actually do what he keeps threatening them with. When if you draw a clear line at some point, that often means your death sentence …"

"Unfortunately, there is a lack of implementation too often …"

The number of feminicides has risen steadily in recent years

Austria is a negative example in an EU comparison. Even though we have good laws and measures to combat violence against women here. However: "Unfortunately, too often there is a lack of implementation," says Rösslhumer. "In many cases, the authorities do not react adequately or estimate them Situation just wrong a. The judiciary and the police are called upon to make even better predictions of danger, to find out more evidence, to question more witnesses, and to work even more closely with the youth welfare office. You have to get the Take a closer look at the perpetrator, meticulously analyze their story. The criminal proceedings must also be conducted accordingly: If the perpetrators are sentenced too mildly or not at all, the women find themselves in further, often life-threatening situations."

This is where politics must start

A package of measures put together in mid-May, presented by Justice Minister Alma Zadić, Women’s Minister Susanne Raab and Interior Minister Karl Nehammer, was intended to combat violence against women. So will be in everyone in the future Police station prevention officers deployed, who will have special training. Motives and backgrounds should be analyzed better and in more detail. The exchange of data between individual institutions would like to be made more transparent and dense. The preservation of evidence was also sought to increase the likelihood of convictions.

At the start of the international 16 days against violence against women, another violence protection summit took place on Tuesday - Minister for Women Susanne Raab, Minister of the Interior Karl Nehammer and Martina Sorgo, chairmen of the violence protection centers, presented above all the violence protection centers in a subsequent press conference measures already in place. But press conferences and violence protection summits are not enough. Urgent steps are needed.

The Austrian Women's Ring calls for 228 million euros annually for the immediate implementation of the # Istanbul Convention and an additional 3,000 Full-time jobs for violence prevention: "Furthermore, it is urgently necessary that long-term basic funding for the facilities ensures that operations can be planned and that advisors are not forced to switch to precarious employment themselves due to a lack of funding. Those who advise women who are at their limit are not allowed to do so themselves come to the limit."

"Violence does not begin with physical assault and certainly not with an actual murder - but with devaluation, control, verbal and psychological violence …"

Beatrice Frasl, podcaster and social media activist for feminist social policy, is also critical of the situation: "In the past, many victims of male violence had to experience Not taken very seriously by police officers Victims report statements such as: "What did it do that your husband went crazy?"

For Frasl it is clear: "There is still a lack of awareness and knowledge that violence does not begin with physical assault and certainly not with an actual murder - but with devaluation, control, verbal or psychological violence in a relationship or stalking after a breakup. Over time, this can all escalate into physical violence. Therefore, I believe that given the widespread prevalence of domestic violence and violence by men against women in relational contexts, ALL police officers need to be sensitized and trained very extensively on the subject - not just a few."

Frasl also criticizes the fact that no violence protection experts were present at the government summit: "In the area of protection against violence, there have been demands on the table for decades - various institutions have decades of know-how, no great new concepts are needed - you have to on the part of politics, only do what the experts have been saying for decades. "

"Discriminatory communication must no longer be socially acceptable."

In addition to the political will to change something, social rethinking must also take place, Rösslhumer knows. This requires continuous and permanent awareness campaigns - Another point in the anti-violence package: "We have to address again and again what is going wrong here - in schools, but also in training courses and seminars in companies, for example. There has to be education, including that men To exercise moral courage, when violence against women occurs. That they don't watch, but say: 'I don't like the way you treat your girlfriend.'"

Discriminatory communication must no longer be socially acceptable. "Men often have no feeling for how to deal with women and where the assault begins. They take things out of themselves and assume this is normal. If we get upset, they say: 'Don't be so bitchy!' We are still so far away from real equality. And as long as that is the case, the problem of violence cannot be combated either."

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