In a televised farewell speech broadcast this week, Mexican president Felipe Calderon expressed his satisfaction with the path his country took during his six years in the presidency. Yet while he patted himself on the back for having “worked to leave a stronger country with a better justice system and a healthier and stronger economy,” there are numerous goals that went unfulfilled during the Calderon regime. One of them is the plight of violence against women.
Fourteen Mexican women day each day as a result of violence according to a report published by the Fundación Origen women’s’ rights group. Between November 2011 and 2012 the organization claimed that 4112 women were victims of femicides while nearly 4000 females “disappeared” during that period of time.
“One of the worst things is that most of them stayed quiet and only two of the femicides registered over the past year were denounced,” alleged Fundación Origen president Mariana Baños to Mexican daily Milenio.
A survey conducted by Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH, in Spanish) found that 30% of women do not denounce violence against them since they believe that “if there is domestic violence it’s a family issue and nothing more.” Yet the CNDH also concluded that problem with women speaking out against being the targets of violence also occurs due to a lack of help from the government.
“There are laws for the protection of female victims of violence in most of the 31 states and Mexico City but they are not respected,” claimed attorney José Luiz Zamora to Xinhua. “There is also a lack of political will behind funding and creating the necessary mechanisms for these laws to be applied,” added Zamora.
In the eyes of First Lady and legislator Margarita Zavala, her husband’s policies for the rights of women have been “efficient and transversal.” Yet for Teresa Ulloa, Latin America regional director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, the Calderon administration represented a “backwards step” for the female victims of violence:
“I’m not sure that the president clearly understands that (violence against women) is the slavery of the 21st century since he always uses that phrase to describe drug addiction. Perhaps he heard that phrase when they talked about violence and he associated it with addiction”…
She insisted that as long as there is no pressure by authorities or a willingness to fund (proposals to help women), the federal government would remain as a “nest for pimps with global recognition.”
Could there be an improvement under the regime of incoming president Enrique Peña Nieto? On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on Sunday he proclaimed that his administration will “prevent, punish and eliminate violence against women.” But some women’s right activists have denounced Peña Nieto’s proposal to reform the providing of social services to vulnerable groups like the elderly and the disabled. Furthermore, the above video from AFP highlights how the number of femicides increased in Mexico state when Peña Nieto served as the area’s governor.
Video Source– YouTube via AFP
Online Sources – CNN Mexico, Radio Formula, Vanguardia, El Universal, People’s Daily Online en Español, Bernama