06/03/2020 - 7:00
On June 3, 2019 fell Monday. Early in the morning, after thinking about it all weekend, Rocío Serrano went to report her ex , Alberto Vilella, to the Women's Police Station in the La Loma neighborhood, in the city of Santa Fe. She was fed up with his constant violence and its death threats. So he had thrown it out a few days before.
That Monday afternoon, as on the last June 3 since 2015, a crowd filled the square in front of Congress to shout "Not one less!" "Stop killing us!" . The mobilizations were replicated throughout the country, with posters, flags and the reading of documents calling for an end to gender violence and an end to femicides.
A few hours later, at night, Vilella (34) forcibly entered Rocío's house (29) and killed her with a shotgun . He was shot in the neck in front of his two sons, 2 and 9 years old. Then he committed suicide with a shot to the head. The older boy was able to run away, he got to his uncle and shouted: "He killed my mom!".
Rocío was the first "less" after the mobilizations against sexist violence across the country on that Monday in June. The first of a list of 303. There were 303 less in the last twelve months. Rocío had two children, who since that day are part of another list, that of the 366 sons and daughters who were left motherless this past year due to femicides.
The “Adriana Marisel Zambrano” Observatory of Femicides in Argentina of the La Casa del Encuentro Civil Association has a detailed report of what happened since the last mobilization of NiUnaMenos until today: “There are 297 femicides of women and girls and 6 transfemicides; 17 linked femicides of men and boys. "
The report shows that seven out of ten women were killed by their partner or their ex, in their own homes or in the homes of their murderers: 40 of these women had already reported them, 19 of the femicides were excluded from home or prohibited from approaching , and 19 of them belonged or were former agents of the security forces.
Other data shows that 38 were girls or adolescents , 6 were pregnant, and 25 were sexually abused before being killed.
Most of these women and girls died from bullets, fists, and beatings . But they were also strangled, suffocated, cremated, cut throat, hanged, drowned, and dismembered.
And although Buenos Aires is the one with the highest number of victims (112), eight of the provinces with the highest rate of femicide per inhabitant are from the North : Salta, Jujuy, Tucumán, Formosa, Catamarca, Santiago del Estero, San Luis and Misiones . They are the same provinces that usually resist adhering to laws such as Comprehensive Sex Education, the Micaela Law or the right to Legal Termination of Pregnancy. They are the ones with the highest rates of maternal mortality and teenage pregnancy.
Femicide investigation report in Argentina
There are 297 femicides of women and girls and 6 transfemicides. 17 Linked femicides of men and boys. 366 daughters / sons were left without a mother. 242 (66%) are minors.
Source: CIVIL ASSOCIATION THE MEETING HOUSE Infographic: Clarín
Chiara Paez was 14 years old and two months pregnant when on May 10, 2015, her boyfriend beat her to death and buried her in the patio of her home . The next day, journalist Marcela Ojeda tweeted: “Are we not going to raise our voices? They are killing us". This is how #NiUnaMenos came about.
it was a before and an after. Femicide became a cry of rejection of gender violence and prompted a mobilization that became massive. But despite the radical and desperate cry that translates to "we don't want any woman murdered," femicides continued. From the first NiUnaMenos to today there were 1,443 femicides, one every 30 hours .
In these five years 1,856 daughters and sons lost their mothers. In most cases, killed by their parents, who later committed suicide, escaped, or were convicted of manslaughter. The Breeze Law was passed for these sons and daughters, so that those who take care of them - generally their aunts, grandmothers - have an economic sustenance.
Why do femicides not drop?
"Adriana Marisel Zambrano was a young woman who was beaten to death by her partner, but the crime was characterized as pre-intentional homicide, that is, with no intention of killing, and the person responsible was sentenced to 5 years in prison. His case not out in the media and not joined any record of femicides, and the House of the meeting gave his name to the Observatory of femicide for rememorarla and draw attention to victims who were invisible , "he told Clarin Raquel Asensio, coordinator of the Commission of Gender of the Ombudsman General.
"After the first Ni Una Menos, in 2015, it is difficult for these crimes not to be noticed and identified as femicide. Since then, we are closer to knowing the actual number of femicides in the country. Furthermore, as a result of the Massive demand for Ni Una Menos, I think of patriarchy as an angry furious beast that defends itself and attacks the prey that challenged it, ”says Asensio.
“From feminisms we always maintained that femicides and transvestites are the most extreme form of violence , but that it is not an isolated violence. On the contrary, it finds its roots and its support in the structural forms of inequality of daily life, in the social, political and economic spheres. About 70% of femicides that occurred in the last 5 years were committed by known people, mostly current or past partners. Clearly, in close ties lies the main danger for many women to whom the promise of protection of the law falls short, ”says Natalia Gherardi, head of the Latin American Gender and Justice Team.
Mariela Labozzetta is in charge of the Specialized Fiscal Unit for Violence against Women (UFEM) and has a more optimistic view: “A lot was done and we see them in the spaces of our work. NiUnaMenos marked a before and after. Five years passed and all the structures cracked. There is a back and forth in power relations, and sometimes violence flares up in the face of feminist demands and the advancement of women's movements. It is true that femicides do not decrease over time, but I think the results will be seen over time. We continue to see things that outrage us and seem horrifying to us, but much progress has been made in legislative terms, such as the Micaela Law. We still have to move very stagnant structures in the cultural scheme and the justice system, which is conservative and the quietest and most immobile of all, but still there is progress, it is seen in the sentences, in the cases, in the qualifications and investigations of femicides. It has not yet been translated into numbers. ”
“Femicides did not decrease because cultural patterns are not so easily changed. The model of society is a patriarchal model in which men are hierarchical in relation to women, they are the ones who always make decisions and their masculinity is affected when these patterns of behavior are not met and women rebel and do not accept their mandates. This affects them and they use violence to subdue them and show what will happen to them when they do not obey. A political vision and many confluent actions are required for these attitudes and behaviors to change, ”says Mabel Bianco, from the Women's Study and Research Foundation.
“Women's care services, in turn, are unable to provide adequate follow-up after the complaint, and women are more vulnerable and may experience more serious violence. Neither do the health services manage to have a model of care that includes considering violence as a cause of illness or discomfort in women. The security forces have improved in receiving complaints, but not everyone follows up on those complaints or the women who make them. We have many sectors involved without articulation or coordination and that implies that resources are spent and the performance is very ineffective. Women continue to die murdered as much or more than before because these deaths are now called by name: Femicide, ”adds Bianco.
The violent quarantine
The Casa del Encuentro keeps a specific quarantine record: its data indicates that 57 women have been murdered since March 20 . Seven out of ten femicides were in their homes, and 77 daughters and sons were left without a mother. 65% of the femicides were partners or ex-partners of these women, and one in six had already reported it for violence.
"The statistics produced by our Femicide Observatory over the years show that housing is the most unsafe place for them. In this stage of compulsory isolation, shared housing represents a real danger and those women who are in a bond of violence have an extreme degree of vulnerability. In the confinement, the feeling of helplessness and loneliness is sharpened and the aggressor is strengthened by unloading his fury on them - he says to Clarín Ada Rico, at the head of La Casa del Encuentro. We know that sexist violence does not stop because of quarantine, so we ask the State to deepen the protection measures to accompany them. We know that it is a difficult time for society, but it is essential to understand that it is even more difficult for them. "
“The intensification of gender violence during isolation confirms something that has been denounced for a long time, and that is that the home is not a place of shelter and security for all people, for many women and children it is a place risky. It is a mistake to believe that those who stay in their homes in these conditions are taking care of themselves, Asensio says. There is concern that state responses minimize or naturalize gender violence by contrasting it with the legitimate concern generated by going through a global pandemic of severe consequences. "
“As the weeks went by, measures were taken to multiply access to justice and whistle-blowing channels and the number of complaints received began to normalize. It is logical that violence continues, what did decrease is what happens in public spaces. All those crimes did go down a lot. Femicides remain, " explains Labozzetta.
“In the houses where there was violence there is now more violence because the discomfort of forced coexistence, economic problems, lack of income, and debts increase. And also the lack of contact with friends either in social or sports activities. Everything favors violence against women. So what is good for the COVID pandemic is bad for the other epidemic of violence, ”says Bianco.
How to end violence?
“To end violence, we must end structures of inequality and discrimination based on gender in all spheres of social, political and economic life. It is a deep, structural and long-term change, but we have to start now, ”says Gherardi.
“In order to reduce gender violence and femicides, a cultural change is required, involving public authorities at all levels and jurisdictions, but also reaching society as a whole; it takes a culture of equity and respect , without tolerance or complicity with any form of abuse, "adds Asensio.
"We are on the right track: the patriarchal scheme must be destroyed and a system in which women are included as subjects of law must be re-founded . Violence and femicide as its maximum expression have a correlate of the unequal power scheme in which we are secondary objects or subjects. This feminisms put it in crisis and the path is this, we must not loosen in the tension of the dispute, in the face of setbacks or the few advances we must not crumble in the will or stop following this path that already have advances in the collective struggle ”, says Labozzetta.
“Gender violence is a cultural matter and it will take many years to deconstruct this structure of thought that forms the actions of the aggressors, who consider women as one more object of their property. For the rate of femicides and transfemicides to decrease, the public policies of the State have to be sustained over the years. They must be comprehensive, transversal and interdisciplinary measures that, fundamentally, put into context the diverse realities that coexist in our country, "adds Rico.
“To end the violence we need uniform protocols throughout the country that guide the actions of all those who intervene: the security forces, Justice, Health, women's care groups and others so that the same guidelines are followed in all areas. "Concludes Bianco.
This year, due to social isolation, there will be no mobilizations on the streets , but on sidewalks, patios and balconies. And on social networks: #NiUnaMenos.