A co-founder of the feminist group Femen has been found dead in her apartment in Paris. Oksana Shachko, a 31-year-old Ukrainian, was found on Monday with a suicide note beside her according to The Guardian. However, French authorities are yet to officially release information on the cause of death.
One of Femen’s leaders, Inna Shevchenko, confirmed Oksana’s death via a public statement.
“It is with great regret and deep pain that I must confirm the death of Oksana,” the statement said.
Another Femen founder, Anna Gutsol, also shared her grief on Facebook
“RIP. The most fearless and vulnerable Oksana Shachko has left us. We mourn together with her relatives and friends.”
The message was also posted to Femen’s website. The group is now awaiting what they consider the “official version” from the police in regard to Oksana’s apparent suicide. Once this is done, they will provide further information.
According to AOL, the Ukranian embassy has also confirmed Oksana Shachko’s death.
For some, though, Oksana’s apparent suicide did not come as a surprise. Photographer Dmitry Kostyukov, who is also husband of Femen co-founder Shevchenko, told The Daily Beast that Oksana’s life had not been an easy one.
“She must have committed suicide at the last drop of her suffering ― she had experience tons; I am not surprised she has done it, her entire life has never been easy, she had layer upon layer of pain.”
— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) July 24, 2018
Oksana helped form Femen, a feminist activist group, in Ukraine in 2008. According to The Hill, the group “also protested authoritarianism and racism and targeted Russian President Vladimir Putin.”
As a result of these protests, Shachko was among three Femen members who were “‘kidnapped’ by security agents and forced to strip naked in a forest after staging a topless protest mocking the Belarussian president, Alexander Lukashenko,” in 2011 according to The Guardian.
Oksana Shachko had been exiled to France since 2013. As a result of this, Oksana was working as an artist.
While Femen is still an organized group, reports of internal divisions and legal proceedings against other members has caused the group to struggle as a whole.
For those who are suffering from suicidal thoughts, The Guardian offers the following details for those who feel the need to reach out and speak to someone.
“In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.”