Mexico: Violence is seen as something normal in daily life
By Ana Osorio
Mexico, January (SEMlac)
“When we women are told that we should wait for our Prince Charming to arrive, we certainly do
not expect this to happen,” said María Cruz, miraculously alive after her husband Antonio
stabbed her at her workplace.
Her life dramatically changed on that day (November 24, 2017). Violence had been escalating
for four years, even after she got divorced from the father of her son. “Yes, I have” was her
answer to the question about having endured various forms of violence over marriage.
Trained as a mechanical engineer, Cruz was very knowledgeable about numbers and quality
certifications, but was unaware of the General Law on Access to Violence-Free Life
She did not know that shouts and threats were manifestations of psychological violence and that
there was another Law on Victims that ensures their economic and other rights.
She never imagined that she was, in fact, a member of the group of local women (11.1 per cent
of the total) in Veracruz suffering from family violence, according to the National Institute of
Statistics, Geography and Information (INEGI).
“He stabbed me with a kitchen knife I had bought” After a long fight with her husband, she
sought help. She had the opportunity to get divorced, at last. Her parents supported her all
along the legal process.
“It was only for my son that I put up with Antonio for years,” she told SEMlac. “On that terrible
day, I was at work. My boss came to tell me that somebody was looking for me at the entrance.
I thought it was an emergency and went there. I turned to stone when I saw him,” she recalled.
“He asked me to go with him to talk about our son and try to find a way out,” she added.
“He got upset, pulled at my sleeve, and stabbed me in the neck,” she said.
“My boss came and took the knife away from his hand. I was immediately taken to a hospital
and operated on,” she stressed.
Fortunately, she did not become one of the 177 women killed in Veracruz last year, just for the
sake of being women “It was not always a horror story”.
María and Antonio first met at the Technological Institute of Veracruz. They were studying there.
They happened to get along just fine and decided to get married and have a child.
“Our problems began when we had a difficult time financially and I had to sell sweets to support
our son while he would sleep until midday,” she recalled.
“My family and friends did identify the violence I was enduring, but I did not pay any attention to
them,” she emphasized.
“When one of his closest friends told me I was useless in front of Antonio, he simply agreed,”
she commented. Moving from love to fear She wanted to move away from him, but was afraid of
losing her son.
“His mother had many connections and ours is a corrupt country,” she noted.
“He put a plan together to accuse me of going out with men and failing to look after our son,”
she told SEMlac.
Even now that he is in prison, she is afraid of him escaping and coming to kill her. “My goal is to
overcome this situation and further support my child,” she added. “I want to close this cycle of
my life as soon as possible and prove that I can drive, learn foreign languages, and do many
things he told me I could never accomplish. I am only 24,” she concluded.
Dominican Republic: Women’s murders and family violence on the upswing
By Mercedes Alonso
Santo Domingo, November (SEMlac). – The nine-year-old daughter of Fidel Adón, a sergeant in the Dominican Navy, will never forget his shocking confession: “I have come to ask your forgiveness. I have to kill your mother and grandmother.”
Six months earlier, Aurelina Báez had decided to get divorced and move with her mother Juana because she had been living under constant abuse and threat.
Adón did not only kill the two women, but also hurt his brother-in-law and the one-year-old son of Aurelina’s sister. He hanged himself shortly afterwards.
The first half of 2017 closed with 50 women’s murders, as compared to 47 in the first six months of 2016, according to the Public Safety Observatory.
Local press reports indicated that 15 women have been killed in the last quarter of this year and that another five have been murdered in the last seven days. One of the murderers (Daniel Alfonso) is on the run.
Last October 28, Listín Diario (newspaper) published an article entitled Children’s sufferings after their parents commit crimes, including anger, depression, anxiety, isolation, low self-esteem, shame, and guilt.
Should a specialized police force be established?
The need to establish a specialized police force for violence-affected women was highlighted last October 27 by former district attorney José M. Hernández.
“When these women show up at police stations to report their cases, they are not well attended to,” he regretted.
“Police officers should be properly trained and sensitized,” he emphasized.
“We need to allocate adequate funding for education and awareness-raising actions,” he noted.
He recalled that two bills have been under review by the House and the Senate.
“They seek to help formulate prevention policies under a comprehensive care, sanction and eradication system that includes sexual and reproductive health and other issues that are contained in the criminal and civil codes,” he indicated.
He made the statement at a panel on policy proposals for gender violence prevention, which was sponsored by the Foundation for a Violence-Free Society and the Iberian-American University (UNIBE).
Speaking at the event, Foundation president Yadira Fondeur highlighted the need to promote equal rights for men and women, and foster knowledge generation, political will and commitment.
Estimates showed that over 60 per cent of victims had previously endured physical violence and 40 per cent, psychological violence.
“These acts have a very negative impact on boys and girls. In fact, 16 per cent of victims confessed that their children have also been abused by their sexual partners,” said PACAM president Soraya Lara.
One of the main recommendations of this local organization has to do with the provision of gender education since early childhood.