Cause of the petition Killings of women
What the initiators want To acknowledge the existence of femicides in Germany and to create structures to prevent them
They do not want That they be trivialized as acts of relationships
Chiara Paez is 14 years old and three months pregnant when she is beaten to death by her boyfriend. She had refused to terminate the pregnancy. Her death triggers a mass movement: A few weeks later, in June 2015, hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets in Argentina for the first time to protest against femicides – that is, against women being killed in the context of gender-based violence. This often involves intimate partner violence. Especially during pregnancies, before or after separations, or during their own professional successes, women are particularly at risk of death at the hands of partners or ex-partners.
The feminist movement "Ni una menos" (No less) quickly spreads to other countries: to Chile, Peru and Mexico, to Spain, Italy and Albania. It takes time for the movement to gradually reach Germany – and that’s not because there are no femicides in this country. Every day in 2019, a man in Germany tries to kill his partner or ex-partner. Every third day he succeeds. Hundreds of thousands are not yet protesting in Germany – but something is happening. Activist initiatives such as "No More" are drawing attention to the phenomenon, and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation has just published a brochure entitled "Femicide in Germany.
News agencies such as dpa announce that they will no longer use obfuscating terms such as "family tragedy" or "relationship drama". The German Women Lawyers Association demands that priority be given to "preventing, prosecuting and sanctioning the killing of women on the basis of their gender."
And a petition now exists: because two women also died at the hands of their partners in Bremen and Bremerhaven in October and November, Charlotte Schmitz, a student, activist and staff member of the Bremen Left Party, started a collection of signatures on the petition platform of the campaign organization Campact, WeAct: "Stop femicides in Germany." "Women are not property," the 24-year-old says. "We have to acknowledge that patriarchal structures are behind the killings. Only then can we do something about it." Schmitz calls for an independent monitoring center to record all cases of femicide in Germany and to be able to work preventively. This is still a long way off: There are, for example, projects of the German Foreign Office against femicides abroad. The German government, however, is reluctant to turn its back on its own front door: It has so far been reluctant to even officially recognize the term "femicide" for the debate in Germany.
Schmitz wants to change that: The petition already has just under 116,300 signatures, and more are being added almost daily. Only when the numbers stagnate does Schmitz want to close the list and hand over the signatures to Women’s Minister Franziska Giffey and Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht (both SPD). "With petitions via the Bundestag, 50,000 signatures are already enough for the petitions committee to deal with it," she says. "With WeAct, it’s something different. But I think it would be appropriate for the ministers to address the issue anyway."