Monday, January 26, 2009

Civil Society Raises Awareness of Violence against Women in El Salvador

To commemorate the Day of Non-Violence against Women, more than 2,000 women marched to Legislative Assembly demanding the Salvadoran state to step up their role in preventing violence and promoting justice for women.

The women called for the Legislative Assembly to pass the Facultative Protocol of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). CEDAW would classify femicide, the systematic muderer of women, as a crime in the Penal Code and enact a number of policies and programs to ensure a woman’s right to live a life free of violence.

According to the Organization of Salvadoran Women for Peace (ORMUSA), an organization working for equality and empowerment of women, assassinations of women have been increasing since 1999. In the last eight years, femicides increased from 195 in 1999 to 337 in 2007. In the first nine months of 2008 alone 256 women were assassinated – indicating that at least one woman is killed every day.

Other forms of violence against women (physical, physiological, verbal, sexual, economic, etc.) have reached alarming numbers as well. In 2008, there were 57,700 reports of domestic violence, and 25,552 emergency calls to 911 because of interfamily violence. This excludes cases of violence that women do not report out of fear or threats from their spouse.

On November 25, in addition to the march in the capital, women’s groups held workshops around the country to talk about the importance of these issues facing women and to discuss steps the people and the government should take to bring justice to women.

- Leslie O'Bray, Grassroots Education and Advocacy Intern

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