Saturday, November 27, 2010

Law passed in El Salvador for a life Free of Violence for Women!

Women Marchers Triumph:
Salvadoran Legislature Passes Law for a Life Free of Violence Against Women

Thursday November 25th, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, over 4,000 Salvadoran women coursed down Juan Pablo II, a busy road en route to the Salvadoran Legislative Assembly.1 Women carried banners, thumped lively rhythms on drums, and cried out for an end to violence. In front of the legislative assembly, they demanded respect for current laws guaranteeing women's rights, and passage of the Special Holistic Law for a Life Free of Violence Against Women.

And they were successful!

Later in the day, the Legislative Assembly passed the law with 75 out of 84 votes. The law was formulated by women parliamentarians from all political parties in consultation with government institutions, the National Civilian Police, women's organizations, and other NGOs such as Oxfam America. The law seeks to strengthen prevention, attention to, and sanctioning of violent crimes against women. The law creates a policy of attention to women in situations of violence, including the creation of follow-up teams and shelters for women. Currently only one women's shelter exists in El Salvador. The law also increases sanctions for violent crimes against women.

The law will be implemented by a new Committee of Technical Specialists coordinated by the Institute for the Development of Salvadoran Women (ISDEMU). The committee will include representatives of various relevant government institutions including the Ministry of Health, National Civilian Police, Ministry of Governance, and Ministry of Labor.

The Feminist Network, composed of three key women's organizations: ORMUSA, LAS DIGNAS, and LAS MÉLIDAS, particularly values the recognition of feminicide as a crime. A form of hate crime, feminicide refers to the murder of a woman specifically because of her sex and gender. Feminicides will be punishable with 20-50 years in prison, depending on the form of murder. El Salvador currently has the highest rate of feminicide in the world, with 129.46 assassinations for every 1 million women. In comparison, in Europe, Romania holds the highest femicide rate, with 12 women assassinated per 1 million. The Feminist Network sees the recognition of feminicide as a crime and the passage of this law as essential to visibilizing violence against women and taking steps to change it.

SHARE celebrates the passage of this law, and congratulates the women parliamentarians that put the time and effort into formulating this law and building the will to pass it, to the Feminist Network for all their work to raise awareness, provide responses to women who have experienced violence, and constantly pressuring the government to play the role it ought to, and all the thousands of Salvadoran women who dreamed of this law and worked to see it happen. In a culture seeped in machismo and impunity, the creation of public policies that prevent and respond to violence against women is an inexpressibly important step in changing attitudes, behavior, and actions, and is an achievement that many fought hard to accomplish.

1Magdalena Flores, “Nueva Ley una Luz para Mujeres,” Contrapunto, El Salvador, 25 de nov.:

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