The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Argentina:
Stop Violence against Women

Jun 22, 2015

“Not one more”: That was the slogan of a demonstration of tens of thousands of women and some men on June 3 in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, against the murder of women. There were other demonstrations with the same slogan, on the same day, in other cities and other countries in Latin America where the murder of women is common, including Chile, Uruguay, and Mexico.

In Argentina, three murders caught people’s attention. A man slit the throat of his wife, a nursery school teacher, in front of her children. A pregnant 14 year old was killed and buried in her family’s garden. A jilted lover riddled his ex-girlfriend with bullets on the terrace of a café.

The murders of women have multiplied in recent years in Argentina. According to the non-profit that organized the demonstration, 53 women were burned alive between 2010 and 2012. 2013 was the most deadly year, with 295 women killed. The province of Salta, where two female French students were killed in 2011, had to take emergency measures by reinforcing its courts and establishing women’s crisis centers.

The demonstrators waved signs with the names of women who had been killed. In addition to machismo and the violence of men, they denounced other aspects of the oppression of women, like the fact that women are paid less than men for the same jobs.

Cristina Kirchner, the Peronist President of Argentina, saw an opportunity in supporting the demonstration. Her administration made “femicide” an aggravated crime according to Argentine law. Homicide is punished with 12-25 years in prison, but femicide can be punished with life in prison, like in other countries in Latin America.

The Argentine laws to protect women against violence may seem strong, modern and liberal – for instance, same-sex marriage is legal. But nonetheless, in this country where so many women and young girls are the victims of macho attitudes, Cristina Kirchner continues to march hand-in-hand with the Catholic Church and to oppose the right of abortion except in emergencies.