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And they died or were killed…

When one learns that in the Dominican Republic hundreds of women die at the hands of their partners or ex-partners every year, they are alarmed and, above all, they feel dismay in the face of this calamity that leaves behind painful scenes of violence.


Edilberto F. Méndez Amador


Society in this country needs effective strategies in order to solve this situation that only leads to fatalities, destroyed families and is an attack against women’s rights.

The director of the Centro de Atención a Sobrevivientes de Violencia de la Procuraduría Fiscal del Distrito Nacional dominicano (Survivors of Violence Care Centre of the Fiscal Prosecutor of the Dominican National District), Solange Alvarado, recently explained that the root of the problem is in the society itself, “even in the womb the differences between man and women are marked”.

Violence, she specified, is constructed within a known belief system such as patriarchy, where its main pillars rest on the overvaluation of the masculine and the devaluation of the feminine.

Alvarado explained that femicide is the ultimate expression of these acts against women. However, to arrive to the point where Dominican men believe that they have a right to kill a woman means that a path has been followed where this thought has been constructed.

Even though the Dominican Republic has made efforts and has brought important initiatives to term in order to eliminate gender-based abuse, the reality is that this wrong continues and, according to the United Nations System in the country, it constitutes one of the main violations of human rights.

According to a study from the aforementioned international institution, this country does not have comprehensive legislation to prevent, attend to and punish these outrages that result in the killing of 200 women every year.

Add to this that girls are also victims of these abuses. Out of 86 femicides that were committed in 2016, eight were adolescents or girls and in 2017, four.

In most cases they were girls or teenagers living with their partner, or were ex-partners of older adult males.

The same study revealed that eight out of 10 Dominican schoolchildren believe that “many women get men riled up with their behaviour” and for this reason they are victims of abuse.

The Attorney General of the Republic, Jean Alain Rodríguez, made public that this year, in the country, 55,000 complaints of gender-based violence and sexual crimes were made, which confirms the non-stop growth of this tragedy.

He laid out that the governement hopes to reverse this level of brutality with specific actions before the end of 2017 but assessed that prevention is the most important challenge in the fight being carried out against these acts. “It is necessary to act before the abuse occurs and not after”, he declared.

He added that abuse against women originates in behaviour rooted in sexist, backwards and dated beliefs around the role of women in society.

The Attorney General pointed out that it is necessary for adults to recognise patterns transmitted unconsciously to their children within their family environments, behaviour codes that provoke future intolerance, obsessive possession and break away from factors that stimulate the mentioned acts.

Gender-based violence is a global behaviour that demands deep insight, he concluded. The stories regarding this social phenomenon are painful. It is the same for those that take place in a marginalised neighbourhood just as it is in a modest home or within the walls of a splendid mansion.

Regrettably, according to figures published by the World Health Organization, spouses are responsible for 38% of the murders of women that happen in the world.

Seeing this pandemic become tangible and grow throughout the world, in 1993 the UN proclaimed the Declaration of the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Later on, in the year 1999, they decided to establish a day on which the whole world would recognise the rejection of this affliction, the 25th of November being the chosen day.

The date, proposed at that time by the Dominican government, was established as a tribute to the Dominican sisters Patria, Minerva and María Teresa Mirabal, who were killed in the year 1960 by henchmen of the tyrant Rafael Leónidas Trujillo. (PL)

(Translated by Sarah Claman) – Photos: Pixabay

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