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Poll: 95% of Argentine women have been in ‘violent situations that deserved attention from authorities’

An artistic protest against gender violence in Neuquén earlier this week.
An artistic protest against gender violence in Neuquén earlier this week.

UN special rapporteur warns of ‘significant shortcomings’ in plans to tackle gender violence ahead of damning Ni Una Menos-backed report

In a week that the United Nations’ special papporteur on violence against women warned Argentina that the country has “significant shortcomings” in its systems to prevent gender violence, an online survey backed by the Ni Una Menos (“Not One Less”) movement has exposed shocking statistics revealing the depth and severity of the problem.

The survey, backed by the groundbreaking campaign against gender violence, found that a staggering 95 per cent of women who answered the poll admitted having been under a violent situation that they felt should have been reported to the authorities.

Today, to coincide with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women established by the UN, a branch of the Ni Una Menos movement will release the full results of its study, conducted through the website www.contalaviolenciamachista.com, in which 59,380 women from all of Argentina’s provinces answered a survey on gender and domestic violence.

According to the results, up to 79 percent of the women who answered said that they have been touched without their consent by men in public transport, while up to 76 percent said their opinions had been discredited in either their workplace or other situations as a result of their gender.

Meanwhile, up to 69 percent of the women felt fear of being raped at least one time in their lives, while up to 99 percent said they had experienced at least one violent situation with one of their partners.

The survey, which questioned women from all over the country, will be formally presented today at the Law School of the University of Buenos Aires by prominent gender experts such as Dora Barrancos, Diana Maffía and Mónica Pinto.

WARNINGS

In her timely visit to the country this week, Dubravka Simonovic, the UN’s special rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, said that Argentina’s systems set in place to prevent such attacks were not fully functional.

Simonovic praised the country for making significants strides forward in its efforts to tackle the killing of women and other forms of violence, but said more work was needed in order for Argentina to meet its international obligations and to tackle “entrenched patriarchal attitudes and gender stereotypes.”

“The government should now intensify its actions to prevent and combat femicide and other forms of gender-based violence, to secure the right of each and every woman and girl to live a life free from violence,” she added, urging the authorities to take concrete steps including implementing recently adopted legislation on comprehensive protection for women, such as building extra shelters and establishing full support services for victims.

“Women who have suffered violence are faced with the lack of a systematic, coherent and effective implementation of international and federal legal standards across the country, resulting in significant variations between provinces and in differing levels of protection for women and girls.”

Simonovic said she was particularly concerned that under the federal Criminal Procedure Code, prosecution of sexual offences was not conducted ex-officio, signifying that sexual violence was seen as a private matter.

“This type of regulation sends the wrong message that rape and sexual violence are a private matter and not a public concern,” she said. “I am also concerned that the definition of rape is not based on lack of consent, but is connected with use of force, in violation of internationally recognised standards.”

She also praised the Ni Una Menos movement for putting the issue of femicide in the “limelight” and attracting world attention.

MARCHES LATER TODAY

Today, a broad series of marches and organised activities will take place across Argentina, as well as in other countries of the region, to protest and demand an end to gender violence.

In Buenos Aires, activist groups have called for mass “feminist assemblies” to take place by midday at schools, parks and public spaces. while a rally from the National Congress to the Pink House will begin at 6pm.

A woman is killed once every 30 hours in Argentina, according to the Permanent Assembly for Human Rights, an Argentine non-profit group. The country’s Supreme Court recorded 286 murders of women in 2015 that were “a result of gender violence.”

Herald staff

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