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UN Finds Violence Against Women Systemic in Argentina

  • A group of women protesters holding up banners denounce femicides in Argentina.

    A group of women protesters holding up banners denounce femicides in Argentina. | Photo: Reuters

Published 22 November 2016

Women across Latin America have been organizing to denounce patriarchy and the lack of political will that has perpetuated the violence for so long.

United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, its Causes and Consequences Dubravka Simonovic has slammed Argentinian authorities for their failure to protect women from an increased barrage of femicides plaguing the nation, calling it a systemic problem.

After traveling through the country since December, Simonovic gathered first-hand information from thousands of women survivors of violence, and concluded that a major problem had to due with the patriarchal and stereotypical views still embedded in the nation.

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This has led to apathy from even the national authorities, and its embarrassingly high femicide rates – one every 30 hours – are proof of that. Moreover, according to sources, 80 per cent of women registered under a family violence monitoring system in the province of Medeza had reported being victims to physical or emotional violence in their lives. Seventy per cent reported being abused by their spouses.

Coupled with the authorities' lack of will to implement the laws that do exist, many women fail to report their abuse in order to escape the victim-blaming backlash so common throughout the country’s judicial and political institutions.

This includes what Simonovic saw as the Penal Code’s refusal to consider sexual violence officially, causing many to see sexual violence as a private grievance rather than a crime.

During a press conference, Simonovic repeated that the problem is a systemic one, including the near-complete lack of implementation of existing laws – domestic or international.

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Simonovic requested that the government to commit itself to implementing the recently passed National Action Plan for the Prevention, Support, and Eradication of Violence Against Women, which in itself does contain measures to protect women and prevent violence. It just has to actually be implemented by authorities.

After stressing the need for national leadership on the issue once again, she called for the building of additional safe spaces for women providing full attention to victims.

Her visit comes at a time when more and more women have been standing up against domestic violence. In October, hundreds of thousands of women joined a national protest that was sparked by the horrifying attack in which a 16-year-old girl was raped and tortured.

Simonovic’s final report will be submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Council in June of next year.

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