Say it Clear! : Femicide is a Crime
There are many things that makes Argentina a country famous worldwide: Tango, meat, Maradona, Messi and Eva Peron. Sadly, during the last years, also it's famous for the unstoppable increasing of Femicide. That means, this country has started to be well known for the lack of ability to prevent, control and punish the murder committed by a man against a woman he considers his property.
What is Femicide? Is the murder of a woman for the reason of being a woman by a man who considers her like his property: “I killed her because she was my wife/daughter/girlfriend/” is the motivation behind Femicide.
Argentina ranks fourth among countries of Latin America in the highest levels of Femicide, after Mexico, Guatemala and Costa Rica. According to the last report of Observatory “Adriana Marisel Zambrano” during the 2011, 282 women and girls were murdered for crimes associated to gender. That means an average of one Femicide every 31 hours.
A review of data previously collected by the organization allows having a landscape of the situation: Between January 1st and June 30th of the last year 2011, 151 women and girls were victims of this crime. Among the 151 victims of the first half of 2011, 58 were killed by their husband, partner or boyfriend and 27 for their ex-partner. The direct family, parents or step-parents are responsible for 7 of the crimes, while other relatives are the offender in 13 cases. The document records 32 Feminicides in which the murderer had no probable link to the victim.
If the figures for the first half of the year 2011 don’t seem terrible enough, let's review the bloody math total: 231 Feminicides in 2009, 260 in 2010 and 282 in 2011. That means 773 women and girls in three years. This is not counting the collateral victims: The 346 children that were left motherless in 2011.
How many women have to die until Femicide can be considered a crime? Violence linked to gender with death results goes on and there isn’t official information about it. Does it seems is a non-important issue to be aware of? I don’t think so. Femicide is increasing and justice system, women rights advocates and women themselves in their homes don’t have a legal tool that makes visible the problem and prevent some humans from being killed because they are women.
Patriarchy, not only causes discrimination and violence, also blindness. In Argentina, Femicide is not described as a crime in the law; the Gender Observatory “Adriana Marisel Zambrano” and “La Casa del Encuentro” are of the few organizations working on the issue and collecting information on each reported case. In Argentina these reports are based on information from the media, so it is suspected that many cases remain in silence and the death toll is higher.
The issue is on the agenda of women's movements worldwide, but the political power still doesn’t give the priority the situation deserves. I think one of the factors that prevent the society as a whole taking violence against women as a social problem, is the perception that these crimes are tied to the private sphere of the life; as people say “family problems are not public problems”. That’s so wrong. A change in the way we understand and assume the violence is essential to advance in the solution and prevention of the issue, to make it visible on the agenda and increase the support for the definition of Femicide as an especific criminal offense.
A version od this article was published in Women News Network: http://womennewsnetwork.net/2012/04/06/argentina-statistics-femicide/