What crimes do you commit every day

Murder of women Femicide: These are not isolated cases

Femicide in Leipzig - the baby was there

It sounds like a dramatic isolated incident, but it is not. A similar crime was recently committed in Leipzig. A young woman was walking with her baby on her body in the Leipzig riparian forest - at noon, in the sunshine and in the midst of many other people. Between walkers and cyclists, the perpetrator injured her head so badly that she died shortly afterwards in hospital. Her ex-boyfriend, who had threatened her several times before, is urgently suspicious.

In Leipzig Connewitz, the place of residence of the victim, posters and graffiti appear everywhere: "It's femicide," it says on many. "We speak of femicides when a woman is killed because she is a woman," says sociologist Monika Schröttle from the University of Nuremberg-Erlangen. She has been researching this topic for years. The idea behind it is: "The woman belongs to me and she cannot live without me. These are, so to speak, types of homicides that clearly have to do with a patriarchal society."

111 murders and 192 attempted murders of (ex) partners in 2019

Around 130 women are killed each year by their partners or ex-partners. That is the average of the figures from the Federal Criminal Police Office from 2016 to 2019. The latest figures were only published a few days ago. They mean: every third day in Germany a woman is killed by her partner or ex-partner. In addition, there were 192 attempted murders of (ex) girlfriends last year. A problem that has been known for a long time. Yet not enough is being done to protect women.

In the Brandenburg case, the woman had previously reported threat scenarios to her acquaintances. "She said that the perpetrator went at her with a gun," says Estera.

That was the impulse where she said: Now I want out. I have to protect my children.

Estera Fries, neighbor of the perpetrator

The woman and their children had lived with friends for four weeks. The father came to visit now and then. The Fries had spoken to both of them about the separation: "That was a very eloquent, intelligent man. In the whole conversation he said once very briefly: I would like to kill everyone," says Axel Fries. That is in a subordinate clause liked and he didn't really see it as a threat.

Expert: Most dangerous first months after separation

The signs are to be taken seriously, says Max Lindner from the Federal Working Group (BAG) perpetrator work. He has been advising men who engage in domestic violence for ten years. In the first three months after the separation, the women are most likely to be killed.

"The existential crises these men find themselves in have the greatest effect," says Max Lindner. It is spoken of a life bankruptcy. If long-term relationships were to break away and with them the existence built up by men, then the exceptional situation would be extremely large. "So big that people no longer act rationally." Instead, there is the assumption: "If I end this life, I also end the cause of the crisis."

But can women be protected? "Theoretically, yes. At least some of them. In 30 percent of femicides, perpetrators have already been noticed through frequent violence and were on record. So-called case conferences can help to better identify such abnormalities. To this end, all those involved are systematically reported to every case of domestic violence "This of course includes victim protection facilities such as women's shelters, women's counseling centers and the police," says Max Linder from the BAG Täterarbeit.

Prevention in Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia?

There was recently a training course on ODARA in Thuringia for specialists in this area. One will be held soon in Saxony-Anhalt. In Saxony there is to be a symposium on high risk assessment in September.

"Above all, we have a gap in that we do not have a functioning network for high-risk cases," says the chairwoman of the regional women's council, Susanne Köhler. She has been fighting for more prevention for a long time - also to prevent cases like the one in Leipzig. Other federal states are already further along.

But so far these case conferences have only been systematically organized in Rhineland-Palatinate. A checklist is then gone through there: The so-called ODARA - an instrument for assessing high-risk offenders. In the case of the Brandenburger, the answers to the 13 questions result in: The perpetrator would have been classified in the high-risk group. He would have had a 75 percent chance that he would commit a serious act of violence against a family member. In such a case, it must then be looked at, "what possibilities are there to spatially separate women from men", says Max Lindner from the Federal Working Group (BAG) perpetrator work.

Femicides are crimes against killing women simply because of their gender. Of a total of 87,000 women killed worldwide in 2017, 60,000 were killed by their partner, former partner or a family member.

In Germany, 111 women died in 2019 at the hand of their partner / ex-partner, which means: every third day in Germany a woman dies from femicide. For comparison: In Mexico, for example, this happens every 2.5 hours. Nevertheless: Domestic violence does not only affect a certain culture or a certain group of people: It is present everywhere, says political and social scientist Monika Schröttle from the organization European Observatory on Femicide (EOF). Violence against women is independent of social status, finances or educational status.

According to the EOF, violence against women has increased worldwide during the corona crisis and in times of lockdown. In some cases, the cases triple.