The International Day to Eliminate Violence against Women
By Jesús Aguado
15 years ago, the General Committee of the United Nations appointed November 25 as the day for celebration of the International Day to Eliminate Violence against Women. Since then, on this day, using orange as an emblematic color, worldwide civic and governmental organizations prepare appropriate events to generate a global change for eradication of gender violence.
Roxana Patlán, head of the local Women’s Institute, IMAM, announced that due to the weather, they had to cancel a massive event to commemorate this day. Instead they will have a breakfast for about 100 women who are leaders in their colonias, communities, and organizations. Local and state authorities will attend the meeting as well. Its purpose is to inform attendants about what measures to take to prevent gender violence and how to help victims of these crimes.
IMAM will also offer a lecture to the students of the Universidad Tecnológica of San Miguel on how to prevent gender violence at school. In the rural community of Tres Palmas, women will attend a lecture on women’s rights. They will learn about the General Law of Access for Women to a Life Free of Violence. Patlán said that public servants have been in constant training to prevent gender violence in the local administration and made it clear that members of departments like Traffic, Police, and Civic Protection are receiving training to handle cases of violence against women.
One of the most controversial cases of gender violence occurred in September 2013 in the city of Guanajuato. One night, Lucero met a friend of a friend. The same night the man gave her a ride home. On the way, the man tried to have intercourse with her. Lucero refused, so the man began to beat her and tried to strangle her. Later, he left her and raced away. In his hurry, he crashed his car very near the scene of the beating. Lucero ran to a nearby community and asked for help. Both the report of the accident and Lucero’s call for help were received at the Guanajuato 066 system at almost the same time.
Two patrols investigated the incidents. Knowing that the man in the car was the aggressor, the agents who attended Lucero nevertheless drove her to the car accident scene although she was not “receiving proper attention as the victim of a crime.” They took the man to the General Hospital. The police officers drove Lucero to the State Attorney General’s office, but her report was not accepted. Some relatives who were waiting there for her took her to the General Hospital. Disregarding what she said about the attacker, the hospital staff placed her near that man. Later, a representative of the Special Unit of Sexual Crimes from the State General’s office took her declaration; however, the representative forgot to dictate the appropriate actions to guarantee the woman’s physical and emotional security.
The Human Rights Ombudsman was attracted by the case, soon finding there was a violation to Lucero’s human rights. Consequently, Human Rights recommended to the state government and the city council of Guanajuato to go beyond the previously offered public apology to the victim and her family and to provide psychological and medical care for the victim, among other actions. The case is still open.
On December 17, 1999, the United Nations appointed November 25 as the day to eliminate violence against woman. The UN received the proposal from the Dominican Republic where, in 1960, Dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo ordered the murder of three women, the Mirabal sisters. The UN decree says the following:
• Violence against women is a human rights violation.
• Violence against women is a consequence of discrimination against women, in law and also in practice, and of persisting inequalities between men and women.
• Violence against women impacts on, and impedes, progress in many areas, including poverty eradication, combating HIV/AIDS, and peace and security.
Violence against women and girls is not inevitable. Prevention is possible and essential.
Violence against women continues to be a global pandemic. Up to 70 per cent of women experience violence in their lifetime.