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‘People didn’t listen’: Julie Douib’s killing sparks fight against femicide in France


Julie Douib told many people she thought her ex-partner would kill her. She told her family. She reported him to the police on 10 occasions. She even told them he had a gun and she was afraid he would use it, but they said they could not do anything unless he pointed it at her.

So it should have been little surprise when he did. Or that Julie’s last words as she lay dying of gunshot wounds on the balcony of her home in L’Île-Rousse, Corsica, were, according to the neighbour who held her hand: “He’s killed me.”

Bruno Garcia-Cruciani had reportedly tracked his former partner on the day of the killing and turned up at her home on 19 March with a Glock 17 pistol fitted with a silencer. He allegedly shot three times; two of the bullets hit Douib, one in the thorax, one in the arm. He then walked into the local police station, handed in his gun and confessed.

On Wednesday a court in Bastia, on Corsica, convicted Garcia-Cruciani, 44, of murdering Douib, 34, with whom he had two sons, now 11 and 13. She had left him six months before and he is alleged to have told her to leave the island. Friends and family said she would have gone, but not without the children.

Garcia-Cruciani was sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum term of 22 years. The judge said he had committed the “ultimate violence” and had “an impulsive and vindictive personality”. The court heard Garcia-Cruciani had also threatened Douib’s father, and a sports coach with whom she was having a relationship.

On the day of the shooting, Douib’s downstairs neighbour, Maryse Santini, told police she heard two shots. As she went up a flight of stairs to Douib’s apartment she saw Garcia-Cruciani coming down. The door of the flat was open and she found Douib dying on the balcony.

Garcia-Cruciani told police it was not a premeditated act. The prosecutor’s office said otherwise. Detectives found Garcia-Cruciani had researched “sentence for killing with a weapon” and “moving to Thailand” on the internet. He also admitted having tried out the gun and silencer in his garden the day before the killing, where police found two 9mm bullet casings.

While in custody, Garcia-Cruciani’s telephone calls were tapped. Police told La Dépêche newspaper that in certain conversations he claimed he had “absolute justification” and reportedly showed no remorse.

Douib’s killing in March 2019 was the 30th femicide out of a total of 146 in France that year.

For Marguerite Stern, a former member of the feminist group Femen and founder of the collective l’Amazone, the killing was the last straw. She went out and posted a collage denouncing the murder, launching a new form of protest over violence against women: the Collages Contre les Féminicides (Collages against Femicide) movement.

Women display signs during a demonstration against violence against women in Paris
Protesters display signs during a demonstration against violence against women in Paris. Photograph: Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty

For the past two years, stark messages have been appearing on walls and buildings across Paris, Bordeaux, Grenoble, Poitiers, Lyon and other French cities. They are the work of Les Colleuses – the gluers – feminist activists who have found a simple, cheap and effective way to make women’s voices heard. The movement has also spread abroad, including to London.

“I remember a phrase that stuck in my mind that Julie had said – ‘they will only take me seriously when I’m dead’, but she is not an isolated case,” Stern said.

Earlier this month, l’Amazone posted several collages for Douib with “justice for Julie” pasted in stark black letters on pieces of white A4 paper at Vaires-sur-Marne, east of Paris, where she grew up.

“We’re doing this for Julie and for all women who are victims of violence. We hope to raise the alarm over what is happening and make people aware,” Stern said. “We imagine them as little fragile women who are easy prey, but they are the opposite. They are heroic. It takes a lot of courage to report your partner to the police, especially if he has threatened to kill you.

“Julie told people and the police what she feared would happen, she did everything she could to alert them and still she was killed. For years, French feminists have demanded the government allocate funds to fighting domestic violence. The laws are there already, but we need the means to enforce them.”

France has one of the highest rates of femicide – generally defined here as the murder of a woman by a partner, ex-partner or family member – in Europe. In 2020, the number of femicides in the country fell to 90 for the year, the lowest since the collecting of such statistics began 15 years ago. So far this year there have been 51.

Research by Le Monde in 2019 suggested more than two-thirds of French women had suffered domestic abuse and more than a third of those subsequently killed were found to have reported it to the police.

Last year the government responded to the outcry over domestic violence with new legislation, including 40 emergency measures such as electronic bracelets to keep violent abusers from approaching their victims. Critics say these rules, which came into effect last July, are being implemented too slowly.

Douib’s parents, Lucien and Violetta, were in court in Bastia to see their daughter’s killer brought to trial. They believe the system failed her: 48 hours before she was killed she had been told all her complaints to the police had been dropped.

“I blame the system, the people who didn’t listen to my daughter,” Lucien Douib told the news website Actu. “I wonder why they didn’t take her seriously. And I blame him, he killed her. I want the justice system to make him pay the maximum so that I can mourn.”



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