Thursday, May 15, 2008

Six out of 10 Mexican women have suffered some form of violence inflicted by their spouses or partners, according to government studies

Every day thousands of Mexican women suffer physical and psychological abuse at the hands of their spouses, despite a federal law passed over a year ago to protect them. Nearly one-third of the country's 31 states still haven't adopted the law, which requires Mexican law enforcement to punish acts of violence against women. Even where the law has been adopted, it's not being applied, say legislators and activists. That's because, despite an official push to move beyond the cliche image of macho, Mexico is still very much a man's world when it comes to violence against women. Mexico City's Commission on Human Rights recently reported that complaints by women against Mexico City law enforcement agencies for failing to respond to complaints increased more than 12% after the law's passage. Progress is hard to come by in a country where just a few years ago the punishment for killing a cow in some states was greater than for killing a woman. A rapist in Mexico can still escape punishment in 21 states by claiming he was seeking to satisfy an erotic fantasy. He can escape punishment in 19 states if he later marries the victim. The law mandating enforcement on women's complaints of violence, passed in February 2007, was meant to show that the government was taking the problem seriously. Legislators have allocated millions for federal and state law enforcement, a special prosecutor has been appointed and some states have adopted the federal law. But activists and government officials say they can count few real successes. Public administrators, police and sometimes even judges are ignoring the law, they said. In 2006, more than 80% of women who were murdered were killed in their own homes. The National Institute for Women in Mexico reports that twice as many Mexican women suffer abuse than the worldwide average.

No comments: