Gender-based violence: a pending subject
“If they kill me, I’ll reach my arms out of the tomb and I’ll be stronger.”
Quote attributed to Minerva Mirabal in response to death threats from dictator Rafael Trujillo.
The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women has its origin in the massacre of the Mirabal sisters, Patria, Minerva, and Maria Teresa. These three political activists were murdered on November 25, 1960, by dictator Rafael Trujillo’s secret police in the Dominican Republic. The horrific end of the Mirabal sisters became a symbol of the fight against gender-based violence around the world.
In 1999, the United Nations (UN) established this day to commemorate the event and to raise awareness about this type of brutality. However, more than twenty years have passed since its institution and, although there has been progress in the recognition of the phenomenon and an increase in legislation to eradicate it, we still need to stop and reflect on the problem, promote its suppression and demand public policies aimed at addressing it.
New data published by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UN Women show that violence against women continues to be a widespread problem that begins at an early age. It is estimated that one out of every three women around the globe falls victim to physical or sexual abuse, and more alarmingly, this scourge has not diminished in the last ten years. What is worse, it has been exacerbated during the confinements ordered during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Argentina, six years have passed since the Ni Una Menos (Not One Less) movement first took to the streets to demand public measures to prevent and stamp out gender-related violence. Much progress has been made since then, yet the problem has not ceased. Last year, the number of claims of psychological, physical, sexual, economic and/or symbolic abuse of this type increased by 25 percent, compared to the previous year, during the confinement mandated to curb the spread of Covid-19. This figure exposed that the domestic sphere continues to be the most threatening for many women, although it is not the only one.
In this sense, digital gender-based violence is becoming increasingly conspicuous. Defining this problem is no easy task and the national legal framework does not yet expressly contemplate it, but it can be understood as gender-based violence which is committed and spread through digital media such as social networks, email or mobile messaging applications, and causes damage to women’s dignity and integrity, preventing empowerment, development and the full enjoyment of human rights.
The forms that digital gender-based violence can take are multiple, varied and changing, but they pose risks and real threats to the human rights of women, girls and LGTBIQ+ people.
However, this phenomenon is not a new type in itself but mirrors the gender violence which is latent in our society. This is a structural problem, with multiple dimensions (political, social, economic and cultural, among others) whose counterpart is the inequalities that sustain and reinforce it.
Within the context of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, ADC intends to contribute to awareness-raising of gender violence as a reality and express our commitment to prevent, approach and eliminate it.