Following killing of 14-year-old in Rufino, Santa FeWednesday, May 13, 2015
Anger over femicides turns into call for June 3 march
The growing movement against femicide in Argentina will stage a march to Congress on June 3 at 5pm, after momentum for the cause has rallied in recent days round the #Ni Una Menos (Not One Less) slogan, following the murder of 14-year-old Chiara Paéz in Rufino last week.
She was allegedly killed at the hands of her boyfriend Manuel on Sunday, whose admission of guilt yesterday was met by rage from local residents, who demanded that a march in solidarity with Chiara and against more femicides.
Chiara had been expecting a child at the time of her death and it was reported that the incident occurred following a row regarding the unborn baby.
In the wake of the tragedy, news of which broke officially on Sunday following a police invesigation, an outpouring of anger was witnessed across the country. It was particularly apparent in the online social media sphere, where the “Not One Less” (Ni Una Menos) slogan was mentioned and resent to other users thousands of times on micro-blogging website Twitter. Consequently, momentum grew behind calls for the protest on June 3, intitially demanded by Rufino locals.
A broad group featuring activists, journalists and NGOs that have campaigned on the issue of femicide and domestic violence in Argentina united around the vocal response to this latest case, releasing a statement emphasizing the prolific nature of the issue nationwide. “Now it was Chiara. Where once it was Angeles, Lola, Melina, Wanda and so many others before,” it said.
The NGO La Casa Del Encuentro, which runs support groups for victims of domestic violence, reported that since 2008 in Argentina 1,808 women were killed by domestic violence, 261 of these girls between 13 and 21 years old. Last year alone, 277 femicides were documented in Argentina.
Ada Rico, head of the Femicide Observatory group affiliated with La Casa Del Encuentro, emphasized just how widepread the issue is, in particular regarding the youth in Argentina, was.
“Chiara Paéz is a case of extreme savagery, but these figures are nationwide. As in reading the annual report of femicides in particular, we were struck by the number. We’re talking about very young victims and perpetrators,” she said.
NGOs involved in studying these themes have argued that the developmental stage at which younger men and women form relationships can often be a pivotal factor, where a cycle of domestic violence, also a widespread issue in Argentina, develops between boyfriend and girlfriend. Rico told reporters that younger women are more vulnerable as they can lack the necessary experience and skills to deal with an escalting cycle of abuse.
Legislation does exist in Argentina regarding the issue of domestic violence. In 2009 Law 26,485 was passed into legislation, which comprehensively addresses gender violence. In full it was called “Full protection under the law to prevent, punish and eradicate violence against women in areas where they develop their interpersonal relationships.”
Many campaigners, however, have emphasized the presistence of the problem, and lobbied local and national government to make sure the law is implemented.
“The numbers remain staggering: every 30 hours a woman dies in the country as a victim of gender violence. Crimes are becoming more violent and women are still being killed even though many acts of violence are reported and there are legal restrictions” said Fabiana Tunisia, executive director of La Casa del Encuentro.