Activists criticized a new Mexican government ad campaign on violence against women , saying it minimizes the problem and depicts women as aggressors , too.
felt that the campaign misrepresented the issue and presented women as the main aggressors since the images showed men and children as victims and women as the aggressors. The video and social media campaign were quickly removed after the backlash.
A video included in the campaign urges men and women to “count to ten” before lashing out at people in their homes, an approach used in a similar campaign in the 1980s. However, activists said that it reduces a huge structural and cultural problem to a simple issue of anger management.
For example, the very first scene of the video shows a woman slapping her forehead in anger when a man breaks some dishes. The video says she should count to 10 and wave a symbolic white flag. The video also shows a gay couple and a man with some children in similar situations.
is a sensitive issue in Mexico, where 3,825 femicides were registered in 2019. Moreover, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has sometimes seemed to dismiss the problem.
“Shamefully, we’re seeing how federal authorities are mounting campaigns like ‘ Count to ten’ that mirrors violence against women and puts the responsibility on the victims and underplays the crimes, making them appear just as simple emotional issues,” the National Observatory on Feminicide said in a statement.
One feminist group referred to the fact that Mexico sees an average of more than 10 women murdered every day in what are deemed femicides , defined in Mexican law as the killing of a woman because she is a woman.
“Count to ten yourself, Interior Department, because that is the number of feminicides there are every day in Mexico,” the group Witches of the Sea wrote on its Twitter account.
The civic group National Shelter Network cited one 30-year-old abuse victim as saying that “waving the white flag and counting to ten never worked for me, because it wasn’t about taking a deep breath, the blows just rained down instantly.”
In a message to the network, another woman wrote, “You have to go out and get help, not stay at home and count to ten.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, violence against women and domestic violence reports have increased not only in Mexico but all over the world. Official numbers show that during the first four months of 2020, calls to report attacks against women have risen 50%.
On May 21, a female reporter questioned López Obrador about the controversial campaign during his daily news conference.
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