Clare McCullough


Co-founder of Feminist Group, found dead in Paris apartment

Oksana Shachko was a co founder of a feminist protest movement that was active during an extremely turbulent time for Ukraine. At age 31, she was found dead in her home in Montrouge, Paris. According to statement from the New York Times, by Anna Hutsol a fellow co founder of Femen broke the details to Ukrainska Pravda, “Oksana hanged herself.”

The artistic Shachko was born in Khmelnytsky into a religious family and when she was young, pondered becoming a nun until her parents talked her out of it. Afterward she decided to reject not the iconography that she had painted for the church but the idea of God itself. However, the feminist icons that she created were now for art galleries.

Femen is a provocative, guns blazing, post-soviet feminist phenomena along the likes of Pussy Riot. However, due to their self-described, “sextremism” members of Femen have encountered vicious reactions. In their trademark topless protest, they had donned thick adhesive mustaches and wore flower crowns in front of Belarus’s KGB headquarters demanding the freedom of political prisoners. Afterward, according to the New York Times, Ms Shachko and other activists had been abducted in Belarus’s capital, Minsk.

However, in 2011 only three years after forming, they were soon demanding government protection. Minsk. Not to mention the abduction, other Femen members had been beaten in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital during 2013. That same year, many of the foundational members moved to Paris and Femen’s protests fell into inactivity.

Shachko would help stage eye-catching protests all around Europe to protest against sexual exploitation, income inequality, and the policies of the Roman Catholic Church. A movement like Femen is born in hurricane speed winds and embraces a radical feminist idea that has inspired others.

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