Violence against women getting worse in Mexico
A new study presented to the UN sustains that the Mexican government is an accomplice in violence against women in Mexico
During 2010 and 2011, more than 1,300 women were killed in Mexico and more than 3,000 went missing, according to statistics by the Observatorio Nacional del Feminicidio (National Observatory of Women’s Murders).
Only in Mexico City, there are more than 10,000 cases of domestic violence a year, taken care of in local hospitals and other healthcare facilities, in which a woman or a girl is the victim.
A new independent study conducted by seven non-profit organizations and presented at the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), blames the Mexican government for not complying with the organization’s guidelines and requirements.
At CEDAW, a panel of 23 independent experts addresses the issue of violence against women through reports received by participant nations, and assists them in implementing their treaty obligations to protect and promote women’s rights. The committee has been active since 1982.
But the panel is also open to analyzing and considering independent studies that address the issue, in contrast with the reports presented by government officials. This particular new independent study researched the impact that the war on drugs conducted by the Mexican government through its military forces has had on women, and the resulting illegal women and girls’ trafficking that surrounds the world of drug cartels.
According to the organizations signing the report, the Mexican government has not guaranteed easy access to justice for women who must overcome complex legal and procedural obstacles after they have been victims of discrimination and domestic violence.
The organizations sustain that violence against women has worsened instead of improving since 2005, due in part to the gap in job opportunities, the salary discrimination and social conflict resulting from the war on drugs, which in turn increases the gender gap and limits the opportunity for women to be independent.
The organizations also sustain that not only is discrimination blatant toward Mexican women but also their access to and fair treatment in the justice system is failing. Among 35 cases analyzed between 2003 and 2012 within the National Observatory of Women’s Murders initiative, multiple cases of discrimination among judges, use of stereotypes and lack of compliance with international standards in human rights were found.
The monitoring organization sustains that impunity and leniency in the way the justice system conducts these cases has increased the crime rate against women and girls in several states in Mexico, such as Chiapas (1485 women murdered between 200 and 2004) and Veracruz (1494 in the same period).
In Chiapas, for instance, which is ranked the seventh most violent state in Mexico, 48.2 percent of women 15 years and older have suffered some sort of violence in their family, from her spouse or boyfriend, from the community, the school, or through work, and 24.1 percent have suffered sexual abuse, sexual harassment or rape.
Especially in cases of rape, the report sustains, women’s testimony is not taken into consideration, and there are procedural flaws in the way the police investigation is conducted or in the way the victim is protected.
The “shadow report”, as called for being opposed to the government’s official statement, also identifies the lack of vigilance and monitoring mechanisms that comply with the 2007 Women’s General Access to a Violence-free Life Act.
Although programs and initiatives exist, the report says, many lack an effective system of evaluation and measurement, which would entail monitoring and follow up of results and the impact on the Mexican female population.
The report’s main goal is to obtain more drastic recommendations from the CEDAW that would force the Mexican government to take action.