Calls for Femicide to Become a Separate Crime in Greece Intensify as Two More Women Are Killed | Greece
The Greek government has come under increasing pressure to introduce femicide as an offense into the country’s penal code amid outrage over the growing and unprecedented number of women brutally murdered by their partners.
Two women were murdered by their husbands within five days last week, bringing the death toll to 17 since January, according to state television. The two men reportedly told police that they had killed their wives out of fear that they would leave them.
Police narrowly prevented the death of an 18th woman by her husband on Saturday when police broke down the door to the couple’s home while he held a knife to her throat.
With the Mediterranean country rocked by the sheer savagery of the killings, calls have mushroomed for stronger legislative action to deal with what many see as hate crimes.
Highlighting the problem, Alexis Tsipras, the country’s former prime minister and main opposition leader, stressed that time was running out. âDisgust and fury are not enough. Now is the time to act.
“We are already late,” he said, deploring the refusal of the Greek parliament to discuss the issue. âState recognition of feminicides should only be the beginning. “
A dramatic increase in domestic violence – increasingly attributed to the pandemic and months of lockdown – has been accompanied by a spate of brutal killings, again emphasizing abuse in Greece.
So far this year, Greek media have reported that victims have been shot, strangled, suffocated, stabbed, beaten and drowned, and many of their arrested partners have reportedly confessed to the killings.
Feminicides come amid unprecedented allegations of sexual abuse of women in the arts and sport. The revelations were widely seen as a turning point for a company that remains one of the most conservative in Europe.
In November, the center-right government responded by launching a public campaign urging victims of domestic and gender-based violence to speak out. It has also set up a 24-hour helpline and is preparing to expand a network of counseling centers.
More recent changes to the penal code have ensured that the harshest sentences will be imposed on those convicted of murdering women, with perpetrators no longer able to invoke extenuating circumstances in the hope of receiving a lighter sentence if the act is qualified as a âcrime of passionâ. The justice ministry is also set to revise domestic violence legislation drafted over a decade ago.
The country’s Minister for Gender Equality, Maria Syrengela, called the measures unprecedented. “There will be no way for the men to claim that they acted in the heat of the moment, that it was a crime of passion,” she told The Guardian.
“And when the law on domestic violence is overhauled in accordance with the Istanbul convention, of course we will advise that femicide be included,” she said. ” It was time. “
It was appalling, she added, that in the event of a homicide, men in Greece could invoke a “provocation”, or claim that it was a crime of passion, when the murders constituted the ultimate exercise of power over women.
“We will be one of the first countries in Europe to have a law that makes reference to femicide and that is what is important,” she added, noting that no EU member state has had so far incorporated the intentional murder of women and girls as a criminal offense.
Sex education and diversity awareness classes have also been introduced in schools.
But the opposition says policies still fall short of what is needed. With vivid passions and graffiti condemning hate crimes appearing more often around Athens, the left-wing opposition is vowed to keep the pressure on until femicide as a motive is introduced into the penal code. from the country.
âIt must be recognized as a term and as a crime,â said Eirini Agathopoulou, Syriza spokesperson for human rights and gender equality. “We have tabled proposals twice in Parliament but the government is simply refusing to discuss them.”