Mass Protests Sweep Argentina Condemning Violence Against Women

ni-una-menos-argentina-gender-violence-protest

Over the past week hundreds of thousands of Argentinians have taken to the streets across the country to protest against gender violence that is rampant in the country. The protests begun after statistics about the high number of femicide incidents were released, sparking anger in not just women, but also men.

According to statistics which are often incomplete due to the prejudice and patriarchal nature of the justice system across Latin America, thousands of women are killed by their partners each year. Domestic violence kills nearly one woman a day in Argentina, more than five a day in Mexico and 15 a day in Brazil.

A number of gruesome killings which hit news headlines in Argentina were the tipping point for these demonstrations. One young woman was beaten by her boyfriend because she got pregnant. It is suggested that Chara Paez. 14, had an argument with her boyfriend who is 16, about her pregnancy. After forcing her drugs commonly found in abortions and beating her, he buried her alive.

Another woman was stabbed to death in a jealous rage. Another had her throat slit because she asked for a divorce. Maria Eugenia Lanzetti was a school teacher who had separated from her obsessive husband. He was so enraged that he came to her work and slit her throat in front of her students.

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The protests were organized by a society fed up with hearing of horrific stories like this in the news. As a result many countries in Latin America have begun revising their laws and adopting new ones to better protect women at risk and further prosecute violent perpetrators.

Just recently we saw how Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff signed a new law calling on higher punishments for violent acts toward women. This law was part of a new four-law initiative to step up the prevention of violence against women.

The marches in Argentina have gotten so much attention that its neighbors Chile and Uruguay are also holding protests in the same vein.

“These macabre crimes reflect a society that is sick with machista attitudes where the woman continues to be seen as a thing to be dominated,” said Fabiana Tunez, the head of La Casa del Encuentro, a feminist huam rights organization, to AFP.

“The government shows up too late to stop it. In Argentina, a woman is still dying every 31 hours.”

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Despite Argentina bringing in a law in 2012 calling for harsher penalties for gender-related crimes (becoming one of 16 Latin American countries to have included the crime of femicide in its penal code), nearly 4000 women were murdered between 2012-2013 and only 613 were investigated as femicides.

“The current situation shows that legislation and prison sentences are not enough. We have to confront the problem by changing the culture and educating people,” said Gabriela Alegre, an Argentine lawmaker.

People are now calling on the government to keep better records when it comes to femicides in order for more effective policies based on factual evidence to be created.

The issue has become so heightened that Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner tweeted about this culture that “devastates women”, and shared a post on her Facebook page about the march condemning what she called the everyday “violence” of catcalls, dirty jokes, obscenities and TV programs that “objectify” women.

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Even star football player Lionel Messi shared his support of the protests saying: “Enough femicides. We join all Argentineans today in shouting out loud Not One Woman Less.”

People marched in the streets of Argentina bearing signs saying “machismo kills” and “enough deaths” and on social media using the hashtag #‎niunamenos‬ which is translated to “not one less” has been used.

Why is this protest making news around the world? Because these hundreds of thousands of people are raising their voices about a type of sinister crime that should not still be happening today. They are speaking collectively that they are fed up. It shouldn’t have to take gruesome crimes for this type of event to happen. We know the statistics already and we hear about gender violence every day around the world.

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When people like to laugh about feminism and pass it off as a useless movement dedicated to trampling on men when women already have the equality and freedom they need today, it shows how we have failed as a society. That statistics about women being beaten, bludgeoned and stabbed to death are not enough to prove there femicide still exists is saddening.

UN figures, highlighted in a report on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women from 2014, reveal how 35 per cent of women and girls across the globe experience some form of physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime.

This is the type of demonstration we need to see more of around the world. Men, women and children standing together to demand change. This is not just a feminist fight, it is a fight for human rights because gender violence affects communities, societies and families.

The people of Argentina are saying “no more” in the loudest way possible, and we hope it will be a wake up call to the rest of the world to take this issue seriously. We can never care too much, love too hard, or think too deeply about this issue as long as it continues to happen in the thousands every day.

ni-una-menos-argentina-gender-violence-protest

One Comment

  1. Pingback: Poland's Abortion Law & South America's Femicide Protests Show The Demand For Gender Equality - GirlTalkHQ

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