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Legal Weapons Have Failed to Curb Femicides in Latin America

Susana Gómez, who was left blind by a beating from her then husband, says in a park in the city of La Plata, Argentina that she did not find support from the authorities to free herself from domestic violence, but a social organisation saved her from joining the list of femicides in Latin America - gender-based murders of women, which numbered 2,795 in 2017 in the region. Credit: Fabiana Frayssinet/IPS
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Gender Violence

This text is a part of IPS protection of the 16 Days of Activism Towards Gender Violence, which started on Nov. 25, the Worldwide Day for the Elimination of Violence towards Ladies.

Susana Gómez, who was left blind by a beating from her then husband, says in a park in the town of La Plata, Argentina that she didn’t discover help from the authorities to free herself from home violence, however a social organisation saved her from becoming a member of the listing of femicides in Latin America – gender-based murders of girls, which numbered 2,795 in 2017 in the area. Credit score: Fabiana Frayssinet/IPS

LA PLATA, Argentina, Dec 1 2018 (IPS) – Left blind by a beating from her ex-husband, Susana Gómez barely managed to keep away from becoming a member of the listing of almost 2,800 femicides dedicated yearly in Latin America, however her case exhibits why public insurance policies and legal guidelines are removed from curbing gender-based violence in the area.

“I filed many legal complaints (13 in criminal courts and five in civil courts) and the justice system never paid any attention to me,” Gómez informed IPS in an interview in a sq. in her neighborhood in Lisandro Olmos, a suburb of La Plata, capital of the province of Buenos Aires.

Though they already existed in Argentina in 2011, when the brutal assault towards her befell, the specialised ladies’s police stations weren’t sufficient to shield her from her attacker.

Her life was saved by La Casa María Pueblo, a non-governmental organisation that, like others in Latin America, makes use of its personal assets to make up for the shortcomings of the state in order to shield and supply authorized recommendation to the victims of home violence.

Gómez, her 4 youngsters and her mom, who have been additionally threatened by her ex-husband, got shelter by the NGO.

“We had nothing. We went there with the clothes on our back and our identity documents and nothing else because we were going here and there and everyone closed the door on us: The police didn’t do anything, nor did the prosecutor’s office,” stated Gómez, who’s now 34 years previous.

“Without organisations like this one I wouldn’t be here to tell the tale, the case wouldn’t have made it to trial. Without legal backing, a shelter where you can hide, psychological treatment, I couldn’t have faced this, because it’s not easy,” she stated.

In April 2014, a courtroom in La Plata sentenced her ex-husband, Carlos Goncharuk, to eight years in jail. Gómez is now suing the federal government of the province of Buenos Aires for reparations.

“No one is going to give me my eyesight back, but I want the justice system, the State to be more aware, to prevent a before and an after,” stated Gómez, who as soon as once more is apprehensive as a result of her ex shall be launched subsequent yr.

Lawyer Darío Witt, the founding father of the NGO, stated Gómez was not left blind by an accident or sickness however by the repeated beatings by the hands of her then-husband. The final time, he banged her head towards the kitchen wall.

“The aim of the reparations is not simply economic. What we want to try to show in the case of Susana and other victims is that the State, that the authorities in general, whether provincial, municipal or national and in different countries, have a high level of responsibility in this. The state is not innocent in these questions,” Witt informed IPS.

“When I went blind and realised that I would no longer see my children, I said ‘enough’,” Gómez stated.

Alarming statistics

In accordance to the Gender Equality Observatory (OIG) of the Financial Fee for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), a minimum of 2,795 ladies have been murdered in 2017 for gender-based causes in 23 nations in the area, crimes categorized in a number of nations as femicides.

The record of femicides launched this month by OIG is led by Brazil (1,133 victims registered in 2017), in absolute figures, however in relative phrases, the speed of gender crimes per 100,000 ladies, El Salvador reaches a degree unparalleled in the area, with 10.2 femicides per 100,000 ladies.

Charts showing absolute numbers of femicides by country in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as the rate of gender-based murders per 100,000 women. Credit: ECLAC Gender Equality Observatory

Charts displaying absolute numbers of femicides by nation in Latin America and the Caribbean, in addition to the speed of gender-based murders per 100,000 ladies. Credit score: ECLAC Gender Equality Observatory

Honduras (in 2016) recorded 5.eight femicides per 100,000 ladies, and Guatemala, the Dominican Republic and Bolivia additionally recorded excessive charges in 2017, equal to or larger than two instances per 100,000 ladies.

The OIG particulars that gender-based killings account for almost all of murders of girls in the area, the place femicides are primarily dedicated by companions or ex-partners of the sufferer, except for El Salvador and Honduras.

“Femicides are the most extreme expression of violence against women. Neither the classification of the crime nor its statistical visibility have been sufficient to eradicate this scourge that alarms and horrifies us every day,” stated ECLAC Government Secretary Alicia Bárcena as she launched the brand new OIG figures.

Ana Silvia Monzón, a Guatemalan sociologist with the Gender and Feminism Research Programme on the Latin American School of Social Sciences (Flacso), identified that her nation has had a Regulation towards Femicide and different Types of Violence towards Ladies since 2008 and a yr later a Regulation towards Sexual Violence, Exploitation and Trafficking in Individuals.

“Both are important instruments because they help make visible a serious problem in Guatemala, and they are a tool for victims to begin the path to justice,” she informed IPS from Guatemala Metropolis.

Nevertheless, regardless of these legal guidelines that offered for the creation of a mannequin of complete look after victims and specialised courts, “the necessary resources are not allocated to institutions, agencies and programmes that should promote such prevention, much less specialised care for victims who report the violence,” she stated.

As well as, “prejudices and biased gender practices persist among those who enforce the law” and “little has been done to introduce educational content or programmes that contribute to changing the social imaginary that assumes violence against women as normal,” and particularly towards indigenous ladies, she stated.

#NiUnaMenos, #NiUnaMás

Within the area, “significant progress has been made, which is the expression of a women’s movement that has managed to draw attention to gender-based violence as a social problem, but not enough progress has been made,” Monzón stated.

Five-year-old Olivia holds up a sign with the slogan against femicide, #NiUnaMenos (Not One Woman Less), which has spread throughout Latin America in mass mobilisations against gender violence. Olivia participated in a neighborhood activity in the Argentine city of La Plata on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, celebrated Nov. 25. Credit: Fabiana Frayssinet/IPS

5-year-old Olivia holds up an indication with the slogan towards femicide, #NiUnaMenos (Not One Lady Much less), which has unfold all through Latin America in mass mobilisations towards gender violence. Olivia participated in a neighborhood exercise in the Argentine metropolis of La Plata on the Worldwide Day for the Elimination of Violence towards Ladies, celebrated Nov. 25. Credit score: Fabiana Frayssinet/IPS

In accordance to U.N. Ladies, a complete of 18 Latin American and Caribbean nations have modified their legal guidelines to punish sexist crimes towards ladies comparable to femicide or gender-based aggravated murder.

However as Gómez and different social activists in her neighborhood conclude, far more have to be completed.

The assembly with the sufferer occurred on Nov. 25, throughout an off-the-cuff social gathering in the Juan Manuel de Rosas sq., organized by the group Nuevo Encuentro.

The exercise was held on the event of the Worldwide Day for the Elimination of Violence towards Ladies, which launched the 16 Days of Activism towards Gender Violence. This yr’s slogan is #HearMeToo, which requires victims to be heard as a part of the answer to what specialists name a “silent genocide.”

María Eugenia Cruz, a neighborhood organiser for Nuevo Encuentro, stated that regardless of the brand new authorized frameworks and mass demonstrations and mobilisations reminiscent of #NiUnaMenos towards machista violence and feminicide, which have unfold all through Argentina and different nations in the area, “there is still a need to talk about what is happening to women.”

“In more narrow-minded places like this neighbourhood, it seems like gender violence is something people are ashamed of talking about, the women feel guilty. Making the problem visible is part of thinking about what tools the State can provide,” she informed IPS.

“Or to see what those tools are,” stated Olivia, her five-year-old daughter who was enjoying close by, and who proudly held an indication that learn: “Ni Una Menos,” (Not One Lady Much less) the slogan that has introduced Latin American ladies collectively, in addition to #NiUnaMás (Not One Extra Lady).

She exemplifies a brand new era of Latin American women who, thanks to large mobilisations and rising social consciousness, are starting to converse out early and promote cultural change.

“Today women are becoming aware, starting during the dating stage, of the signs of a violent man. He doesn’t like your friends, he doesn’t like the way you dress. Now there’s more information available, and that’s important,” stated Gómez, who’s a volunteer on a hot-line for victims of violence.

“Now they call you, they ask you for advice, and that’s good. In the past, who could you call? Besides the fear, if they promise to conceal your identity, that prompts you to say: I’m going to file a complaint and I have a group of people who are going to help me,” stated the survivor of home abuse.


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