Femicides: The War Against Women

Feminist collective Tinta Violeta summarises the alarming number of attacks against women in Venezuela and Latin America in the first weeks of 2020.

By Victoria Allen - Tatuy TV
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Femicide map 2019 (utopix.cc)
Femicide map 2019 (utopix.cc)

There have already been more than 50 femicides throughout Latin America in the first 11 days of 2020, a figure that should scare us due to the specificity of the crime and its crazy frequency.

2019 closed with alarming levels of femicides for the entire continent. While this should be the main discussion point for feminist movements, social media users seem more concerned with mocking the performance of [the hit feminist choreography] "You Are The Rapist" (El Violador Eres Tu) by Chilean collective Las Tesis.

Since it came out [in November 2019], the powerful content of this performance has connected with the hundreds of daily news stories about men killing, beating, torturing, harassing and raping women. These men, as they go through the judicial process, frequently end up going free, either on legal technicalities or through aberrant acts of corruption. One example was the case of Mexican saxophonist María Elena Ríos, who was attacked by a national deputy with acid in September 2019. The deputy was freed a few days later having bribed a judge.

The war against women is not only a controversial title, but the prelude to an investigation by [Argentinean] anthropologist and researcher Rita Segato. Segato is currently conducting an analysis of the murders in Mexico’s Ciudad Juárez and their relationship to the different forms of violence in the continent’s bloodiest country.

At the same time, the war against women is a phrase that seems to synthesise the situation of extreme violence to which women are subjected today. All of these acts of violence are, in principle, due to our gender, and in some, stronger, cases include class, race and territory particularities. In these cases, the situation of the woman is even more precarious given the apathy of state structures towards groups which have been historically excluded from public policies.

In a brief investigation conducted by [Venezuelan feminist collective] Tinta Violeta, a series of data offered by the local Latin American press was collated concerning this Dantesque phenomenon, which worsens every day and overwhelms the public with the scale of the increasing aggressions. Below, we review the cases collected in some Latin American countries during the early days of 2020:

Similarly, the Por Ellas X Todas (For Them, For All of Them) collective has taken up the task of publishing the cases of femicides recorded in the Latin American press. By January 5 they had already published some figures from other countries such as Brazil (25), Costa Rica (2), and USA (2), whose numbers are alarming and utterly hopeless.

In Venezuela we are not left behind.

The Venezuelan state has maintained absolute silence on this issue since 2015, leaving us without official figures. Nonetheless, Venezuelan researcher Aimee Zambrano, alongside other concerned colleagues who have joined the campaign to collect data, have managed to amass some figures. According to Zambrano and others, in Venezuela by January 10 there had been between 7 and 11 cases of femicide (plus other failed attempts and related violence), resulting in the death of a Venezuelan woman approximately every 24 hours.

We include here the data collected by Zambrano:

  • January 1, femicide of Elba Maria Tambo (40) by her partner in the La Rinconada de la Cruz de Taratara sector of Sucre Municipality in Falcón State (north west Venezuela).

  • January 1, femicide of Luisanny Stephani Hernández Villaparejo (18) whose body was found in the bathroom of her former partner's house. The woman had signs of being beaten with marks on her neck. She died of strangulation. The man committed suicide by hanging himself in Los Chorros Park in Petare, Miranda State.

  • January 3, a woman's head was found in the garbage dump in the community of Aeropuerto sector in La Guaira State (north Venezuela). The identity of the victim and the reason for the heinous murder are unknown.

  • January 4, femicide of Brenda Carolina López Franco (40) who was beaten on December 24 in her home in Lara State (west Venezuela), but was left with no vital signs the afternoon of January 4. She was nine months pregnant and the baby was saved.

  • January 6, femicide of Yuleimar Ginez in the El Fortín urbanisation of the Great Housing Mission of San Pedro in the Castillejo sector of Guatire, Miranda State. It is presumed that the crime was committed by her partner, who reportedly shot her outside the house.

  • January 6, femicide [using scissors] and rape of Anubis Manantial Contreras Peña (9) in [Pueblo Nuevo sector of Mérida City in] Mérida State (west Venezuela).

  • January 7, femicide of Geraldine Quintero (16) [who was found burnt] also in Merida State (west Venezuela).

Attempted femicides

  • January 5, attempted femicide of Migdalia Margarita Silva (36), who lives in the town of Villanueva of Moran Municipality, Lara State (west Venezuela). She was attacked by her former partner.

  • January 7, attempted femicide of Andaluz de Los Angeles Urdaneta by her partner, who, in the process of shooting her, ended up injuring his stepdaughter (4). The couple took the injured girl to the pediatric emergency unit at Maracaibo University Hospital where on-call doctors reported the case to the officers of the Zulia State Bolivarian Police Corps (CPBEZ, west Venezuela). The officers questioned the mother and she alleges that the girl was wounded during an assault, but some contradictions in her account made officials doubt her version.

Crimes associated with sexist violence

  • January 5, the attempted murders of three children (2, 5, and 8) by their father Carlos Adolfo Aobando Arévalo (48) who was arrested in Tachira State (west Venezuela). The man had had a strong argument with the children's mother, and waited for her to leave the house to lock himself in with his children. He proceeded to open a domestic gas cylinder with the aim of killing everyone from the inhalation.

From Tinta Violeta and the Venezuelan feminist social movement, we call on the government to immediately take matters into their own hands.

We cannot continue to wait on delays and bureaucracy for concrete action to be taken over a situation that has clearly gotten out of hand.

Patriarchy and capitalism will not allow a truce for our women in this war which has been declared against us. We demand concrete action, we demand answers. We want justice for all women.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Venezuelanalysis editorial staff.

Translation by Paul Dobson for Venezuelanalysis.

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