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Let's stop objectifying women

The problem of gender violence exposes the underlying truth that many objectify women
Woman protesting against femicides - File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
24/10/2017
09:00
Mexico City
Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL
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Violence in Mexico has taken thousands of lives of men and women in recent years, however, evidence proves it's our women, due to their gender, who are more prone to harassment in vicious ways. Unfortunately, we haven't stopped hearing about those cases where women are attacked and/or murdered at several regions of the country.

Beyond the simplification we usually fall into when publicly discussing sexism and feminism, it's necessary to talk about the role women have in a hostile social environment and why their integrity is being consistently threatened in Mexico. A sad recollection are the thousands of women murdered in Juárez City, and more recently, the State of Mexico. Although this violence started years ago, they still suffer it.

Puebla has risen in the last couple of years as a state where femicides – killing of females due to their gender – are frequent. There are dozens of cases, many of which gained notoriety. Because of this, the National Human Rights Commission in Mexico has requested the National Institute for Women (InMujeres) to activate the declaration for a gender alert in the state. According to the organization, 83 women have been killed as of the month of September in Puebla.

Given the situation, the local government has proposed the strategy “Once and for all,” which seeks to prevent, address, and eliminate gender violence from four main angles: access to justice, legal amendments to fight criminal behavior, safe cities, and preventive measures against violence. These are a series of guidelines which at first sight seem feasible, but we'll have to wait and see how they fare when implemented.

The problem of violence against women is complex. In several regions of the Mexican Republic, mainly in rural areas, women are still regarded as a means to preserve the family, always at the disposal of the patriarch. This exposes the underlying truth that many objectify women, present not only in the provinces but in the social environment of our country.

The number of cases of violence against women reveals the number of women killed is constant, and that they die far more violently than men, and the perpetrators are their sentimental partners or relatives.

That is, a law or policy which ignores the fact their immediate environment is where women suffer violence the most has no possibilities of success in the long term. If we want to revert the tragedy represented by the killings of women in Mexico, this is the place we should be looking at – the culture, the family, the environments were women are being objectified and their dignity, denied.

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