The State is ranked 11th on a National Level
Text: Evlin Aragon/ Photo: Daniel de la Rosa / Translation: Oaxaca Media. All rights reserved
Violence against women is defined as an extreme expression of discrimination and is expressed in oppression, exclusion, subordination, exploitation and marginalization. Women are constantly being victimized by threats, aggressions, poor treatment, lesions and physical damage, for being women, and in certain cases concluding in the death of the woman, to which is given the name feminicide.
According to the Mexican Feminicide Report, carried out by the Special House of Representatives Follow – up Commission on Feminicides, UN Women, and the National Women’s Institute of Mexico, which was carried out during 1985 – 2009, it was determined that in the past 25 years there were 34,176 women who were presumed murdered. An average of 20 women per day in Mexico during those years, among which, 7,000 occurred between 2005 and 2009.
Perhaps the more well known cases due to their widespread attention in the media, were the more than 320 systematic murders of women in Ciudad Juarez, many of whom were workers in a “maquiladora” and who were found dead on the outskirts of the city; murders which, even though there were many filed complaints, never were solved or resulted in the detention of an aggressor.
According to an investigation done recently by the Citizen’s Observatory on Feminicides, it came to light that only 30 percent of these crimes on a national level are attributable to acquaintances known to the victims, rendering them (the crimes) as domestic violence.
The other 70% have to do with conditions of misogyny and hate that occur in other areas of a woman’s life like, in the work place, on the street, or in public places, and in many cases are connected to organized crime, which make it even more complicated to carry out investigation processes resulting in convictions.
Oaxaca’s feminicide levels are just as high
In Oaxaca the situation with regards to feminicides is far from being considered less grave. In just the last six year term from 2004 to 2010, civil organizations, like the Consortium for Parliamentary Dialogue for Equality in Oaxaca, the Woman’s Study Group Rosario Castellanos and the Network for Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Mexico (Ddeser-Oaxaca) , among others, by means of a citizen recount titled “Violence against Women, an open wound in Oaxaca”, 283 murders of women were registered as having occurred throughout the State, with 25% of them concentrated in the Central valleys. This report highlighted the extreme cruelty with which they were murdered as well, 33% were carried out using fire arms, 15% using sharp objects, 13% died by beating, 11% by strangulation, and a total of 10% were raped before their death.
These same civil organizations had the hope that with the change in the state government in 2010, there would have been a reduction in the number, nevertheless, from December of 2010 to November of 2012, the number increased by 50%, with 173 cases reported so far by the media in a report presented in a citizen study titled Justice Now! Feminicide and Violence against Women in Oaxaca, in which is recaptured information published in the police blotter in the two most widely circulated newspapers in Oaxaca.
According to Mayra Morales Aldaz, representative of Ddeser-Oaxaca, an organization that signed the document presented to the public and the media, the 173 cases that were published in the police blotter sections of the two newspapers are in addition to the 115 cases registered during the 2009 – 2010 period.
She also detailed that in the study they presented, the age range that was put forth in which the greatest number of cases occurred was between 21 and 30 years of age and 30 to 40 years of age. In both age groups the majority of the women were housewives, which, according to the activist, supposes a long history of domestic violence which is made worse by a societal and institutional indifference, not being attended to or denounced, which culminates in the deaths of these women.
Morales Aldaz also mentioned that when considering the incidences in the various regions within the state, it is understood that the greatest number of cases were in the Central Valleys, followed by the Coast and the Mixteca. At the same time the data shows that there were a significant number of aggressors who were the partner or ex-partner of the women. According to the activist, the greater part of institutional work should be directed towards the prevention of domestic violence as well as the capacitation of those in charge of administering justice in the courts.
Feminicide seen from government institutions.
As a counterpart to the previous data, presented by a group of many organizations that work on gender themes, the Oaxacan State congress considers that its work on gender is done: on August 8th, 2012 it approved the addition of feminicide as a crime in its penal code as an independent crime, the same which has yet to be printed in the state’s official news publication: each time that the state’s executive judicial branch returns it to the house of representatives to make modifications where it has been stuck.
According to the PANista representative Ivonne Gallegos Carreno, the classification of feminicide as a grave crime in Oaxaca was a great achievement in the state, because it will be crucial in the reduction in these cases, with a maximum of 60 years of prison imposed for offending men. Nevertheless, in reality, there is not enough of a culture of reporting and women who have suffered gender and domestic violence have much less faith in the court system to effectively resolve their cases without suffering more violence, thus rendering the classification of the crime insignificant due to the lack of those affected willing to make a claim and testify.
After the presentation of the citizen study JUSTICE NOW! That put forth that there were 173 cases of feminicide, the State Attorney General came out and said that the number was lower, only 147 feminicides registered, and giving assurances that the numbers given by the activists did not correspond to the number of complaints, investigations and findings registered with his office.
This was cause for a call to compare numbers, numbers far from justifying that they have lowered according to the document that was presented: In the same time period only one case was resolved culminating in a prison sentence that was reported by the media.
In the same tone, the Oaxacan Women’s Institute, though its head, Anabel Lopez Sanchez, affirmed that with the numbers registered in the state, Oaxaca is in 11th place on a national level with feminicides, establishing that there is a high level which is due to the general condition of violence in which the whole country lives and hatred directed towards women.
She also indicated in the interview that even though there was a recent classification of feminicide as a grave crime, there is a lack of investigative protocols in existence that prevents women’s murderers from escaping the application of justice. “Really, in Oaxaca we are in the beginning phase of elaborating the investigative protocol in coordination with the state Attorney General. After the investigative protocol is created, a capacitation will be given to the investigators and the Public Ministry, so they can have precise tools,” said Anabel Lopez Sanchez.
The official explanations are far from justifying their actions in solving this problem. They only show the importance of resolving them, seeing as that since 2004 to date gender violence has killed more than 456 women in the state according to numbers reported by civil groups from the society at large.
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