For a time it seemed like Mexico may have stemmed its persistent trend of violence against women.
But a recent report from Mexico’s interior department, the National Women’s Institute, and UN Women reveals that violence against women is nearly as high as it was at its peak in 2012 and more than twice as high as it was in 2007, the Guardian reports.
“Violence against women and girls — which can result in death — is perpetrated, in most cases, to conserve and reproduce the submission and subordination of them derived from relationships of power,” the report, which can be found here in Spanish, reads.
The resurgence in high rates of violence against women in Mexico is due in large part to an increase in organized crime gangs in certain regions of the country like Guerrero, Zacatecas, and Chihuahua.
Roughly two in five of all homicides against women take place outside of the home, which the authors noted was “one of the most important findings of this study,” and unlike homicides of men, women are more likely to be killed without a firearm through means such as strangling and stabbing.
Mexico isn’t the only Latin American country that suffers from high rates of violence against women.
According to a separate U.N. Women report, 14 of the 25 countries with the highest rates of femicide worldwide are located in Latin America.
“Violence against women is the way that patriarchy — this system that denies the life of humanity, natural resources, and everything living — tries to control our actions, autonomy, thought, and creation,” Honduran feminist artist Melissa Cardoza told TeleSur. “Femicide is the most brutal expression of these acts of control.”
The trend of femicide is spurred on by a culture of impunity, where crimes against women are not investigated as such — despite laws that require such action.
The Huffington Post reports that nearly half of women in Mexico report having experienced sexual violence, but only about one in 10 cases of violence against women goes to court.
In Mexico, the 2007 General Law on Women's Access to a Life Free of Violence criminalized femicide with a mandatory sentence of 20 to 60 years in prison. But five years later, in 2012 and 2013, just over 1% of femicide cases led to sentencing.
The most recent report suggests that in order to stem this tide of femicide will need more than just policies to reduce violence but also one’s that promote “greater empowerment and economic autonomy for women.”
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