Monday, May 27, 2019
Home News "Up to the blood" | TIME ONLINE

"Up to the blood" | TIME ONLINE

Twice the 36-year-old stood out this Monday. In a parking lot in the Lower Austrian city
      Tulln, with a dagger, on his wife. She is the seventh murdered woman in Austria since Christmas,
      the fifth since the beginning of the year. There were 43 female murder victims last year. all
      they were killed by men. Men who came mostly from the private environment of the victims.

Such numbers must disturb. And indeed, something overdue seems to be on the move: Austria is thinking about male violence and hatred of women, about patriarchal structures and misogynal worldviews. Where, one wonders, is this flood of women's murders coming? Femicide was not something that was previously heard at most when it came to so-called honor killings in backward cultures or persistent machismo in Italy or South America
        (TIME
        No. 41/18
)? And who are these violent offenders? Who strangles, stabs, drowns, shoots his partner, ex-wife or wife, his mother, sister or daughter?

The government of ÖVP and FPÖ has quickly identified its guilty party: the stranger. Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl calls it a "fact that we would not have this form of violence against women without the migration crisis of 2015". Secretary of State Karoline Edtstadler speaks of imported values, and co-responsible, said Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, "the welcome slapper".

This Stammtisch shortening is doubly dangerous. On the one hand, this stuns the social negotiation of its own downsides before it really has started, and ignores the patterns of power and violence that are responsible in Austria for almost 9,000 sign-posted visits (comparable to the German ban on contact) and a much higher one Dark figure of women terrorized by male violence within a relationship.

Patriarchal structures and violence are at best isolated among Austrians, says former Judge Edtstadler – and if Austrians murdered then because they imitated the foreigners. This is a mockery of all victims. Every fifth woman in this country experiences male violence at least once in a lifetime, and that was by no means better. Usually the abusers abuse and rape in their own home. It sounds idle to say: No, these men are by no means just migrants. But just these days it must ruminate victim protection facilities and men's counseling: They are dealing with councilors, politicians or doctors as well, with respected, outwardly enlightened appearing Austrians.

At the same time, the question of a connection between value and violence threatens once again to flow into the ideological drawer: Here is the kind of thinking that categorizes refugees and migrants per se as dangerous. There, the fear to play racism in the hands, if one deals with origin, images of society and crime rates.

For days, juggling with numerical comparisons and isolated cases on this mined arena. The Austrian Minister of Women Juliane Bogner-Strauß, Foreign Minister Kneissl and State Secretary Edtstadler have probably not coincidentally talked at their press conference last week about three of the so far four murders in 2019, where the perpetrator once a Syrian asylum seeker, once an Austrian "with Turkish roots" and once a Spaniard "with African roots" was. Although the latter is not suitable for the migrants with archaic behavior, for example: the man who allegedly stabbed his sister under the influence of drugs at Vienna's main railway station had been adopted as a child by a family from northern Spain and socialized there. But as a third offender with a migration background, he underlines the thesis of the imported problem.

What the ministers did not address: the 42-year-old Lower Austrian, who stabbed his ex-wife on 9 January. Or the Viennese who went to Hungary on January 11th and fired shots, Molotov cocktails and an ax at his former partner and their family. Like him, the Vorarlberger, who stabbed his wife 43 times in South Tyrol in September, does not appear in the Austrian murder statistics, but increases the delinquency of foreigners abroad.

It is not easy to measure violence. A Eurostat evaluation from 2015 states: Nowhere in Europe is the proportion of women among the murder victims of an assault higher than in Austria. But country comparisons are not very solid because every country makes a difference. Even in Austria, police advertising statistics paint a different picture than judicial sentencing statistics, and the cause of death statistics suggest different conclusions.

Whoever claims that it is only the wave of migration that has brought this extreme form of male violence to Austria since 2015 does not rely on figures. The proportion of foreigners among the murder suspects, for example, was 32.9 percent in the years before 2015 and 32.3 percent between 2015 and 2018.

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