Spain has one of the most complete and advanced laws against gender violence in the European Union. However, last year another 50 women were killed by their partners. It is a lower figure than the EU average per inhabitant, but it is still a tragic number, which has been constant in recent years.
What works well? What can be improved? In search of answers, our reporter Julián López Gómez traveled to the south of the country, and met with jurists, and above all, with “survivors.”
Break the silence
“Physical, psychological, economic, sexual, social aggressions… Everything! I think psychological aggression is the worst. First, because it cannot be proven. Second, because it takes a lot of work to overcome all these traumas,” Macarena García declared. Pérez, who was a victim of ‘domestic violence’ for 23 years. Today, she Macarena wants to open a shelter for dogs. Giving them what she was denied is therapeutic. “I think if they helped me, they can help other women too,” she says.
“40% of women do not realize that they are victims of abuse. We train company personnel to act as agents of change against gender violence, identify invisible victims and help them break the silence We are not the problem, we are part of the solution,” says Ana Bella Estévez, a victim of “domestic violence” for 11 years. The foundation she created brings together 30,000 women volunteers, in 82 countries, to help victims of ‘gender violence’ through legal and psychological support, as well as organizing workshops on violence prevention.
Insufficient resources to enforce legislation
The foundation’s lawyers denounce the lack of resources to correctly apply current legislation. For example, there are resources for up to 3,500 electronic surveillance devices to ensure special protection. But today, 75,000 battered women would need one of those devices. The Observatory against Domestic and Gender Violence points out that more investment is needed in social, economic and psychological assistance. Insufficient resources lead many women to withdraw their complaints.
The educator David Cerón, and a group of young soccer players during a workshop on ‘responsible masculinity’ organized by the Fundación Iniciativa Social.
Education is also essential. According to David Cerón, an educator at the Social Initiative Foundation (FIS), which organizes workshops on ‘responsible masculinity’, it doesn’t matter how many laws are put in place. “There are boys who, because they are boys, believe they have the right to control girls, and to exercise violence against women. Either the male adolescents themselves change this idea, or none will change it. The sooner they start to understand that it is not by exercising violence, that it is not by being stronger or showing off more, or showing that they are more virile… then, little by little, fairer and healthier behaviors can be established,” he concludes.
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