Domestic abuse in Mexico continues to be a reality
By Leidy Yareth González Romero
In Mexico, it is normal for friends, acquaintances, or relatives to talk about problems at home in such a casual way that they are not perceived as violence. Hearing women mention the following; “today my husband threw the TV remote at me because he got angry when I changed the channel”; “today my husband and I had sex, but I didn’t want to”; “Rodrigo told me that if dinner wasn’t ready when he came home from work, I was going to be seen to with a good thrashing”; shows how violence has become a day-to-day occurrence in the country.
According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2016, 1 in 3 women worldwide had experienced psychological and sexual violence at the hands of their partner. Specifically, in Latin America violence against women continues at an alarming rate that represents a threat to their personal and social performance.
In Mexico, it is estimated that 3 in 10 women have been victims of physical violence within the home. This reality shows that, during the lockdown, a red flag has been raised due to this intensification of domestic violence. During this time, victims spend most of their time with their aggressors.
Previously, due to work, aggressors would leave home for work or some other activity; however, due to the long period of lockdown, the aggressor, his stress, insults, humiliation and threats are constant; in addition, many of the aggressors ignore their responsibility as parents but not as heads of the family.
On many occasions, it is family members who have perpetrated this domestic abuse; although in the majority of cases it is the man who performs this role. Often times, women have to isolate themselves and hide with their children in the “safest corner of the house”, so the aggressor cannot not find them and hit them.
The Ministry of the Interior, via the Citizen Council for Security and Justice of Mexico City, has registered that 9 out of every 10 victims of domestic violence are women; and that one in 4 have witnessed violent acts against other women. In addition, 66% of these victims suffered physical abuse, and 22% psycho-emotional abuse.
In some cases, women can also play the role of aggressors; however, it is not very common, and although the percentage of male aggressors is higher, that is not to say that the opposite never occurs. In certain cases, it is the woman who mistreats or violates the man emotionally, physically, sexually, and psychologically.
Domestic violence deeply affects women, but also the children who are exposed to constant danger in places where they are supposed to be safe. Sometimes acts of physical, psychological, verbal and emotional violence are against both women and their children; however, even if the abuse is directed only at the mother, the lives of all family members are disrespected, depriving them of a life with dignity.
It is incredibly important to evaluate the measures put in place both by government institutions and by groups and non-governmental organizations for the effective protection of women and their children. Unfortunately, the visibility of the acts remains null, or they not accepted by the victim or the aggressor in most of the cases; however, it is necessary to continue working on actions to reduce this problem.
In the first place, the person has been victimized must be aware of the violence that is being directed towards them, it is essential that they recognize the need for help and that they must do everything possible to get out of their abusive situation; secondly, they must live without fear, face up to the actions that are consuming her day by day, and lastly, recognize and report whoever is violating them, have the fortitude to report that person even if it is their partner or children.
Finally, it is of the utmost importance that institutions, human rights commissions and civil society participate in activities such as workshops, legal support, and training on human rights and violence, and that this be targeted towards all members of society: men and women, boys and girls, in order to promote a life without domestic abuse. It is also necessary to have programs or curricula at schools in place where children are taught to respect and control their emotions. It is an integral matter, which takes effort and time, but which can result in a healthier society where the human rights of all are respected.
Cover photo: Rudyanto Wijaya