Femicide: Insults, Harrassment and Murder
By Jack Little, UK/Mexico (Published in Issue 4)
An international report Mexico: Women’s Struggle for justice and safety: Violence in the family in Mexico says that one in four women in Mexico have suffered abuse from the hands of their partner. Some predictions are much higher. The National Institute of Statistics reports that five women are murdered each day in Mexico. It is unknown how many of these killings are carried out by family members of partners. Following on from International Women’s Day on March 8th, this report looks at the problem in Mexico and what is being done here to ensure that women have a life free from abuse.
In 2007 a law on Violence Against Women was passed in Mexico City setting out women’s rights and the direction the government would take to end the abuse of women. However since this date, an unsympathetic and male dominated justice system coupled with a lack of funding for implementation have meant that many women are still unaware that this law exists. The fact of the matter is that to those women who do know about this law, it seems out of reach, impractical and even at times contradictory. For this law to be a success, more resources must be spent enforcing it, and women need to be educated in order to be able to take advantage of the protection that it offers.
Some would argue however that this law only papers-over the cracks of this debilitating problem in Mexican society by supporting women after the violence itself has occurred. More work needs to be in changing the machista attitudes which remain prevalent throughout much of Mexico today. In the past month, an advisory document was released by Mexico’s Interior Ministry to confront sexist language and attitudes in government offices. The guidelines aim to change the use of inappropriate and offensive language against women. This is another step towards changing the hearts and minds of men in a masculine dominated culture. There is still a lot more to be done.
Whilst some progress has been made on stopping violence against women, there is still a long way to go to protect women from insults, harassment and murder which is present in Mexican society today.
For more information on this subject go to:
www.conavim.gob.mx (Spanish site)