Alexia Daval, a 29-year-old jogger, disappeared on a run, and her body was recently found near Gray, France covered in foliage. No one knows who the attacker was and an arrest has not been made. Although, an autopsy showed that she was strangled and her body was found burnt, but she was not sexually assaulted.
In her honor, around 10,000 people united together to march in Gray, which included a 10 km course that was Alexia’s jogging route. Many of Alexia’s family and friends have joined the runs in mourning and helped lead them.
Isabelle Fouillot, her mother, said, “[Running] was my daughter’s favorite thing to do, and I encourage everyone to jog and run. We should not have this freedom taken from us.”
“I am very touched by everything that has been done [this weekend]. It means such a lot. I say a big thank you to everyone; anyone who has taken place in any kind of activity [for Alexia],” she continued.
Isabelle Fouillot also said sadly, “With these sporting gestures, you are making Alexia into a strong symbol, one of the freedom for all women to enjoy running and to live.”
One of the great impacts of the runs is that it brings attention to the cases of violence and crime centered around female victims. Women constantly deal with harassment, prejudice, and violence on a daily basis. Around 1 in 3 females have experienced physical or sexual violence since the age of 15.
Violence against women is typically ignored, and it only supports the idea that women are inferior and aren’t enough for us to talk about. Every little bit of action that screams “this is happening to women and it’s not okay!” is crucial to the steps that need to be taken to change the way we perceive femicide and abuse against women.
Anna Zobnina, chair of European Network of Migrant Women, stated, “Violence against all women and girls is a political issue. When some countries don’t take up their responsibility to ensure safety and integrity of all women and girls, it means that they deliberately want to build societies where women’s rights are not respected, where women and girls are considered inferior and their bodily integrity is not protected.”