Oksana Shachko, co-founder of feminist activist group FEMEN, has died at age 31. Her body was found in her apartment on July 23 in Paris, the movement’s website stated.
The cause of her death has not been confirmed.
The FEMEN “sextremist” movement was born in 2008. Its stated objective is “complete victory over patriarchy” by “[provoking] patriarchy...to disclose its aggressive antihuman nature” and instil in all women “an active opposition to the evil [of oppression]”.
Members of FEMEN have made headlines by appearing often topless at public events. The objects of their protests range from illiberal values and religious intolerance to domestic violence and sexual exploitation.
Shachko fled Ukraine to Paris in 2012 to avoid persecution linked to her activism. In a 2016 interview with Le Point, Shachko claimed there were five criminal cases filed against her in Ukraine.
In 2011, three Femen members, including Shachko, said they were abducted and tortured by the Belarusian secret service following a protest outside its headquarters in Minsk.
Shachko was also known for being one of the first members of the movement to appear topless in freezing temperatures during the winter months.
Shachko was a painter of iconography as a child. After having taken a break from religious painting to focus on activism, she returned to portraying religious scenes with a twist as a way of delivering a political or feminist message--instead of the Holy Trinity, for example, she portrayed three women in crowns of flowers drinking beer and smoking cigarettes. She hosted an exhibition of her personal work in Paris in 2016.