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Femicide rates increasing at an alarming rate in Argentina


Alice Rodgers
WVoN co-editor

Femicide has increased by 22 percent in Argentina over the past three years and it is now one of the country’s major social problems.

According to a survey carried out by the Observatory of Femicide in Argentina and the NGO La Casa Del Encuentro, 119 women were killed by male violence in the first half of this year.

Sixteen of those women murdered had previously reported domestic violence to the authorities and in seven out of ten cases the alleged perpetrator was the partner or ex-partner of the victim.

A day of action was held across the country last Friday, promoted by Frente Amplio Progresista (FAP) deputies Virginia Linares and Victoria Donda to call for a state of national emergency due to the increase in cases of domestic violence.

Social and political organisations also demanded that Law 26.485 to protect, prevent, punish and eradicate violence against women be properly implemented.

“We can’t allow these things to keep happening,” Ms Linares said. “We must push the bill to declare a social public emergency due to gender violence, which we have already introduced in Congress.”

“It is important that the issue of gender violence is part of the urgent agenda of the state” said Fabiana Tuñez, coordinator of La Casa del Encuentro, who attended a rally outside the National Congress in Buenos Aires last week.

“Many laws are being discussed in Congress, but without budgetary support and a national plan for the elimination of violence they are ineffective” she added.

Tuñez was also joined by Patricia Fuño, sister of Lilian Fuño Rodríguez, who was murdered by her partner in 2009 after having sought help from the police for domestic violence.

He also brutally murdered the couple’s three children.

The man was sentenced to life imprisonment in March, but it was decided that he wouldn’t be imprisoned until his conviction becomes final.

“My sister, like many other women, endured years of verbal and physical abuse until one day she couldn’t take it any longer and reported it to the police” commented Patricia Fuño. “I think my sister is a clear example that reporting domestic violence to the police once is enough. Unfortunately she did not receive help and now she is dead, along with my nephews”.

Lilian Fuño’s case is typical of the many others found in the study.

It is likely that the real figure is even higher than that found in the survey which only reflects cases of femicide reported by the media.

Tuñez explained, “It is crucial to consider gender-based violence as a political, social, cultural and human rights issue. This way we can truly see the grave situation that many women and children face in Argentina”.

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