Since the beginning of the year, the Dominican Republic has registered at least 43 cases of femicides, the country's Ministry of Women reported Tuesday — a figure revealing that the island nation is following the tragic trend taking place across most of Latin America.
Calling the rate “terrifying” and “alarming,” the ministry said in a statement that since the beginning of June, an average of one woman was killed every 48 hours as a victim of gender violence.
The latest case recorded occurred Monday, with authorities finding the quartered body of a woman in a bag — without her head and other body parts — in the northern province of Sanchez Ramirez. Dominga Bautista Lora, 35, had been reported as disappeared 18 days ago.
A man surrendered to the police and confessed that he had hit her with stones before he cut her body with a machete, according to Nuevo Diario. Like the majority of femicide cases, the suspect was in an intimate relationship with the victim.
“As a woman, as a mother and as a minister, I wonder in which kind of society we are turning into,” Ministry of Women leader Janet Camilo said during a press conference. She was joined by the Attorney General for Women Affairs Roxana Reyes.
Reyes insisted on the need for citizens to denounce cases of gender violence that they witness, because in her opinion, “femicides occur because public institutions do not receive the complaints in due time."
“If they don't complain, we can hardly break the chain of abuses,” she added. Reyes also mentioned that the Public Ministry is working on improving responses to cases of gender violence.
The report on femicides in the Dominican Republic comes amid an alarming surge of related killings recorded in many countries across Latin America since the beginning of the year.
In Colombia, over 200 women have been killed in 2017, according to Colombia’s National Institute of Legal Medicine. In Paraguay, femicides doubled this year compared with 2016's first two months, with an average of one woman killed every four hours. And in Argentina, one woman was murdered every day between the beginning of this year until April 27.