Man (n) does not kill for love! – and *the strike against patriarchy and violence

Nine women have already been murdered in Austria this year, two of them in Graz. The feminist group “F*Streik” is taking to the streets against this patriarchal violence. Members are calling on women to raise their voices for fundamental social change to occur.

Thursday, 5:30 p.m. The sun rises over the Griesplatz, it’s warm, but sadness and anger are still in the air. It has happened again! On April 24, a woman was murdered in Tyrol, probably by her husband, who was also found dead. The police assume the murder and suicide of the suspect. Statistics Austrian Independent Women’s Orphanage (AÖF) This is the ninth case of femicide this year. Nearly 30 people gathered today to protest any form of violence against women* with colorful banners and strong slogans. “We want to live!” It is written on one of the raised banners.

“You take us one*, we all answer!”

The activist group “F*Streik” recognizes male rule in society and stands against this patriarchy. It was founded two and a half years ago because some activists wanted to set up a dedicated feminist protest project. “There were about 30 people at the first meeting. The rest is a basic group of 10 to 15 people who meet twice a month,” says one member, who wishes to remain anonymous.

In the first few years, murders of women were mainly on the agenda, and in the summer of 2020 there were demonstrations against it for the first time under the slogan “Take us one *, we all answer!”. Members of the group did not see the topic as sufficiently present in the media. That has changed significantly since then. “We don’t necessarily see it as a success for us, but as a success for the feminist movement, reports have now changed,” the protester said. However, it is extremely stressful to constantly deal with and respond to an extreme form of violence. The organization has cost a lot of resources to organize a spontaneous demonstration after every murder of a woman. That’s why, since this year, the group has taken to the streets against patriarchal violence on the last Thursday of every month.

“F*Streik” is not an association, but considers itself a community of individuals. “We do not have a unified political opinion, we each have our own positions and we agree on the issues we want to deal with,” the activist explains. As a FLINTA* group, all women, lesbians, bisexual, non-binary, transgender and intersex people can actively participate. CIS men may appear to be cooperative but are not allowed to make effective decisions and are not involved in planning demonstrations. They only selectively support the protesters, for example with childcare during the events.

The protest march starts from Griesplatz via Joanneumring to the main square. Photo: Nicole Ivanova

“Kitchen, marriage, home? Our answer: resistance!”

“F*Streik” is getting attention. Many pairs of eyes focus on the protesters on this day, as the demonstration runs from Griesplatz to the main square, accompanied by a few police officers. “Kitchen, marriage, home? Our answer: Resistance!” reverberates across the city. The reactions of people on the street vary greatly. Feminists have had to contend with hostilities and harassment. But there are no negative comments only. Most people watch the demo with interest. “For the most part, I think they are somewhat grateful for the support of feminism on the streets by committed people,” the protester said.

At the end of the demonstration, protesters gathered in the main square to commemorate the women killed this year. Nine signs were placed in the street – one for each victim. “There are more banners than in the previous show, which makes me very sad,” said the demonstration leader. This is followed by a minute of silence – not just to mourn, but to reflect on what can be changed as a society.

Nine pesticides, nine banners. Photo: Nicole Ivanova

“If we don’t do it anymore, no one will ever do it”

The group thrives on the voluntary participation and commitment of its members. “If no one cares, nothing happens, and if many people care, a lot happens,” the activist says. Interest in the group is generally high, which is why every month there is a “Beginner’s Day”, where members present “F*Streik”. There is a smooth start for all those who wish to participate in the FLINTA* programme. “You don’t have to do a lot of tasks at once. We try to get as close to people as we can and also be open to people who haven’t been politically involved before and then want to try ‘F*Streik’,” says the feminist.

However, the members of F*Streik are not satisfied and would like to raise awareness of the project. They are planning information booths and would like to meet with women’s groups all over Austria so that more cooperation can be developed. The activist explains that the group will likely continue with demos. “If we don’t do it anymore, no one will.”

Cover photo: Protesters hold their banners on Thursday. – Photo: L Gailhofer

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