Latin America: groups protest continued violence against women

Women's organizations throughout Latin America used the United Nation's International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Nov. 25, to highlight continued abuse of women in the region and the failure of governments to take steps to reduce it.

In Chile the women's rights center Corporación Humanas marked Nov. 25 by publicizing the results of a nationwide poll of women about their perception of their situation. Some 67% of those questioned said they thought the Chilean government had failed to take measures to prevent violence against women. About 54% believed that the violence had increased, 34% said it had stayed the same, and just 8% felt it had decreased. Some 73% said violence against women in couples was a problem that affects all women, because it is an extreme expression of machismo. So far this year there have been 38 femicides (misogynistic murders) in Chile. (Adital, Brazil, Nov. 25)

Hundreds of Salvadoran women marched in San Salvador to denounce the 582 femicides that that have occurred in the country in 2011 and to demand respect for women's human rights and greater resources for groups working to defend women.

In Honduras more than 200 women marched through the center of Tegucigalpa and in front of the National Congress to demand justice and an end to impunity for those who rape or murder women or commit other violent acts against them. According to Grissel Amaya, the Public Ministry's special prosecutor for crimes against women, more than 1,500 women were murdered in Honduras from 2008 to 2011. The Public Ministry received more than 20,000 reports of domestic violence during the period and more than 11,000 reports of sexual violence, Amaya told reporters on Nov. 25.

Thousands attended a demonstration in Guatemala City to demand an end to machista violence, which has resulted in the deaths of more than 650 women this year. Participants included university students, indigenous women, professionals and activists. (EFE, Nov. 26, via La Opinión, Los Angeles)

In Mexico the Chamber of Deputies of the National Congress marked Nov. 25 with the publication of a book, Feminicidio en México; aproximación, tendencias y cambios 1985-2009, dealing with femicides over a 24-year period. The authors found that there had been 34,176 murders of women during the period and that the rate of these murders had increased by 68%. A total of 17.2% of the victims were under the age of 18.

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