One in four women in Mexico has suffered physical, and sometimes sexual, violence at the hands of their partner. Thousands are put at risk of repeated abuse because weak or ineffective protection measures fail to ensure their safety.
Domestic violence can have physical, psychological, and emotional effects, as well as serious economic and social consequences on women and their families. Many face a range of obstacles when trying to report cases, such as the refusal of officials to accept complaints, inadequate investigations, and poor enforcement of protective measures.
A number of factors also deter women from filing complaints, such as fear of reprisals, and entrenched social attitudes which excuse violence against women, and undermine women’s role in the family and society. Official restraining orders are rarely issued and in many cases, there are no dedicated police resources to enforce them if they are issued.
Following her divorce in 1993, Marcela Blumenkron made numerous emergency calls to the police to report threats and harassment from her former husband. Time and again, she was advised by prosecutors to resolve the issue directly with her former husband.
On one occasion, Marcela was told, “if you come back with a bruise, we’ll do something”. In 2005, Marcela’s former husband broke into her home and stabbed her, leaving her paralyzed for four months, with long-term nerve damage and limited mobility.
Although Mexico recently passed a law to counter violence against women, and many states have followed suit, more still needs to be done or these changes will make little difference to women at risk. Take action to demand that womens’ rights in Mexico are properly protected!