How the murder of a woman in Corsica became the symbol of femicide in France

All of France is watching the murder of 34-year-old Julie Douib of Corsica in 2019, leading to a national protest against femicide in France, the murder of women because they are women, often committed by a violent (ex-) partner.

Today, the lawsuit against her ex-husband and father of her two children Bruno Garcia-Cruciani (44) started. This happened under great interest from French media, who had flock to the island. The trial is a symbol of violence against women across the country.

Douib‘s family was present in court today, as did members of the Women’s Rights Organization Foundation des Femmes:

Douib was killed with a firearm on March 3, 2019 in L‘Île-Rousse, in northern Corsica. She was found on her balcony by her neighbors who had heard suspicious sounds. “She said to me, “He killed me,” said a neighbor. Douib was in a puddle of blood and had two bullets in her chest and left arm. She died of her injuries later.

Her ex-husband Garcia-Cruciani reported herself to the police almost immediately. He stated that he had gone to Douib’s apartment with a gun and that he shot her. But he denied that he had planned that in advance.

The process is mainly about whether he acted preconceived, writing Corsican media. According to justice, there is no doubt about that research revealed that he was stalking his ex-wife and searched the Internet to commit a murder with a weapon and emigrate to Thailand.

In addition, Douib reported six times in the months before her death to instances of violent behavior of her ex-partner. Previously, she had reported to the police because she feared for her life. The jewellery designer lived with Garcia-Cruciani for thirteen years. The couple had two children and divorced in 2018.

Femicide

Douib‘s murder in March 2019 was the thirtieth murder of a woman by a partner in France that year. In 2019, the number of women murders in the country would reach 146.

When it became known that Douib had been alerting in vain in the months before her death, a major protest action started in France. In L’Île-Rousse on Corsica, thousands of people gathered for a quiet trip, but there were also massive demonstrations on the French mainland.

French Secretary of State for Gender Equality Marlène Schiappa admitted that Douib is “insufficiently protected” by authorities. A few months after the murder, a so-called ‘Grenelle’, a consultation ground, was held against domestic violence. In such consultations, the government talks to civil society organisations and other stakeholders. As a result of the Douib case, 46 measures were introduced, including the use of bracelets to locate violent (ex-) partners.

Social initiatives were also established after Douib‘s death, mainly driven by feminist and women’s rights organizations. For example, last June action group #Iwascorsica walked a march through Bastia. Under that hashtag, victims of abuse and sexual abuse still talk about their experiences. Also, benches were painted red to pay tribute to the victims of women‘s murders.

Macron relatifies blow

President Macron, who suffered a blow from a man behind a fence on Tuesday, came back to that incident in an interview with BFM TV today. He relatified the blow by referring to violence against women. “It’s not bad to get a blow. The real violence is violence against women who die from the blows of their partners.”

Garcia-Cruciani‘s attorney said today in court that his client should be tried for what he did, and not because he has become the symbol of violence against women in France. “He should not be held responsible for all women’s murders. A lawsuit is no place for politics or activism.”

The lawsuit runs until next Wednesday. If Garcia-Cruciani is convicted, he may be sentenced to life imprisonment.