A 29-year-old woman in the northeastern Greek city of Alexandroupoli died on Thursday night after allegedly suffering a severe beating at the hands of her husband. This is the 16th femicide in Greece this year alone.
The victim, a mother of three, was first brought to the emergency room with a ruptured liver and spleen on December 4. She also tested positive for Covid-19, so she was brought to the Intensive Care unit reserved for people who have the virus, and underwent four difficult surgeries.
At the time, her husband claimed that the woman had been injured after falling on the stairs. Doctors and nurses, however, reported that the woman had severe injuries across her entire body that did not correspond with a fall, but rather with a brutal beating.
Husband of femicide victim in Alexandroupoli claimed she fell down the stairs; doctors recorded evidence of brutal beating
The victim’s parents filed a formal complaint against her husband, arguing that he had caused her bodily harm and was abusive, on December 8. Her husband was arrested on Friday.
An autopsy will be performed next week, when the viral load of the coronavirus in the body will be decreased, according to the hospital’s policy in such cases.
The femicide in Alexandroupoli is far from the only one to have occurred in Greece recently. In the past year, Greece has been shaken by an increasing number of femicides, or murders of women by their partners. Just four days ago, a woman was brutally murdered by her husband in Laconia, Greece.
A pandemic of violence against women, UN report says
“Violence against women is an existing global crisis that thrives on other crises. Conflict, climate-related natural disasters, food insecurity and human rights violations all contribute to women and girls living with a sense of danger, even in their own homes, neighborhoods, or communities,” said UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous.
“The COVID-19 pandemic, which necessitated isolation and social distancing, enabled a second, shadow pandemic of violence against women and girls, where they often found themselves in lockdown with their abusers. Our new data underlines the urgency of concerted efforts to end this,” she added.
This series of brutal, disturbing crimes highlights the issue of domestic violence in abuse in the Greece.
Why such a rise in femicides?
“We are a deeply sexist and patriarchal society,” says Anna Vougiouka, a social scientist and expert on gender issues at the Female Studies and Research Center Diotima. “Patriarchy means control, it means I won’t take ‘no’ for an answer,” she explains. She adds that if a woman decides to leave a patriarchal man, violence usually escalates.
Femicide is traditionally connected to the devaluation of women, which is a symptom of patriarchy, says Anna Lazou, an assistant professor of Philosophical Anthropology at Athens University. “Women being murdered for their sex are being murdered predominantly by male boyfriends or husbands,” she says.
Statistics show that domestic violence has been on the rise in Greece in recent years. In 2018, a total of 3,815 adult women were victims of domestic violence. The number in 2019 rose to 4,171 women.
There were 13 femicides in 2018, eight in 2019 and ten in 2020. All of them were family or boyfriend-related.