Sometimes it only takes one courageous deed, one act to change the world. Following the first revelation about the sexual assaults in Hollywood, more and more voices spoke up everywhere uncovering the truth about violence and harassment against women. This should be commended! These voices have the strength to change mentalities in a profound way.
How could we not be happy that people are now speaking more freely about an issue that has always been at the heart of the Kering Foundation's commitment to combat violence against women since its foundation in 2009?
Some are scared of the widespread "denunciation" that now appear on social media hashtags concerning these revelations. This emotion shows the road that remains to be traveled to take the exact measure of this injustice coupled with an insult to women. Is it not clear? An assaulted woman who names her attacker cannot be affixed with a scarlet letter. The reality of the situation, until today, is that the inappropriate way in which women are so often treated when they decide to make a complaint makes them believe, more often than not, that they have more to lose than to win.
So, yes, we must salute all those who have taken the risk of breaking the silence on this subject and who continue and will continue to do so.
However, we must go much further than that. First, of course, by supporting the associations that listen, welcome, support and comfort the victims. This is an absolute necessity. Then, by facilitating the steps that need to be taken by the victims.
In order to denounce their aggressor, they most often have to go through hours of interrogation where they are asked the most intimate of questions, just to “build a case”.
That is why I don't agree with those who suggest or whisper that this freeing of speech is a revenge, or even a derivative of the feminist struggle. Let's be serious! This subject is not only a "women's issue", rather it concerns half of humanity and therefore, it concerns us all! This violence, this outrage inflicted on women is also an issue that concerns men who cannot, should not, remain mere bystanders to what is happening today. This is why men must also speak up so that they clearly recognize the inanity, the absurdity of the behavioral patterns that they have inherited.
This fight for the equality of the human condition cannot be won without the involvement of men. It is in this context that the Kering #ICouldHaveBeen Foundation campaign is campaigning to end violence against women. Under this hashtag and through the digital campaign designed for this occasion, it is "simply" to invite men to publish their photo with a female name in order to imagine what their life would be like if they were born a woman. Social network users then discover the appalling statistics on the violence they may have suffered during their lifetime (one in three women has been or will be the victim of violence during her life).
This initiative refers in part to the work of a great anthropologist, Françoise Héritier who has just passed away, and whose major contribution to contemporary thinking has been praised by everyone. She said, with common sense, "We are not living a war between the sexes, but rather both sexes are victims of a system of representation which is thousands of years old." There can be no doubt that it is not up to women alone to transform these representations and the injunctions they undergo. This work must be conducted on an equal basis. It is time for men to open their eyes and to speak up so that they may attack a vision of the world that, far from making them grow, makes them smaller. So again we must make an effort to, as Françoise Héritier suggested, no longer think of the relationship between the sexes in terms of superiority and inferiority, but in terms of "desire and love".
- François-Henri Pinault, Chairman and CEO of Kering, Chairman of the Kering Foundation
An eye on
“We must remain vigilant wherever women’s rights seemed established, and be even more active wherever they still need to be conquered”
– François-Henri Pinault, Chairman of the Kering Foundation.
The Kering Foundation releases its new Activity Report and honors women who fight to escape from violence, the organizations that support them, and the Kering employees. Articulated through a simple presentation and concise texts, the document includes a photo-essay by Marion Berrin. The report highlights the Foundation’s approach, which focuses on partnership and dialogue. Whether it is to support survivors-centered organizations that provide comprehensive services to women, to mentor social entrepreneurs with alternative solutions or to break the silence, the Kering Foundation seeks to create deep and long-lasting social impact and to change behaviors, in order to put an end to violence against women.
Find out more about the projects led by the Kering Foundation partners, as well as its awareness campaigns, by downloading the Activity Report.
In France, one woman dies every three days due to domestic violence
In 2016, one hundred and twenty-three women were killed by their partners in France according to a report published by France’s Home Office (the equivalent of the FBI and Homeland Security departments in the US) on September 1st, 2017.
The study focuses on intimate partner deaths in France and shows that women remain the principle victims of domestic violence. Thirty-four men were also identified. In total, one hundred and fifty-seven people lost their lives in 2016, an increase of 9% compared to 2015, when there were one hundred and forty-four victims. An international report from the UN published in 2015 supports this observation. According to the report, two thirds of all domestic violence deaths are women.
An article published by the French journal Liberation gives details about these victims, who come from every social class, depicting their candid moments and their stories. The paper points out the main cause for men to commit these femicides: the refusal to break up. Ernestine Ronai, Psychologist and Head of the Women’s Violence Observatory in Seine-Saint-Denis explains, “You do not murder your wife out of love. You murder her because you cannot stand the fact of losing her. You want to keep your property.”
Another crucial aspect is highlighted in the report: children are at the center of domestic violence. Often times traumatized because they are the first witnesses to this violence, they are also collateral victims. In total, twenty-five children lost their lives in 2016. Amongst them, nine children died with their mothers.
The Hubertine Aucler Center, a regional resource center dedicated to the promotion of gender equality in France, published a report called “Better protection and guidance for children, co-victims of domestic violence” on September 7th. It recommends reinforcing financial resources and support to “women survivors and their children” in order to encourage them to speak out and prevent violence.
This study is based on the first national plan to counter violence against children and the fifth national plan to mobilize and combat violence against women, both launched in 2017 by the French government.
For more information about French organizations that support victims of domestic abuse, visit the National Federation of Solidarity for Women’s (FNSF) website, a network of organizations that provide guidance and shelter for women victims of abuse, or contact the 3919 in France (Anonymous and free of charge).