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Raise voices against violence: Civic leadership for peace

17.06.2019

By José Viveros, Carolina Barreto; HEC Paris

Panel with Yussel Nathán González Páez, Reporter, AFP, Mariana Benítez Tiburcio, Lawyer, María Jimena Duzán, Journalist, Marita Perceval, Regional Director, Latin America and the Caribbean, UNICEF

 

Violence is a problem that plagues many regions. However, according to UNICEF's Marita Perceval data, 14 of the 25 most violent countries in the world are in Latin America. One in two children face violence in their own home, and the region has the highest incidence of teenage pregnancy after sub-Saharan Africa. 1,100,000 girls a year are victims of sexual violence in a culture of inequality, privilege and machismo where 7/10 men think that women are raped because they deserve it. This, like other problems such as corruption and migration due to climate change generate high levels of inequality.

For her part, María Jimena Duzán, the journalist, explained how the great victims of the armed conflict in Colombia were the women: abused in the jungle, forced to have children and separated from their families. Many of them mothers of military fallen in combat. On the other hand, after the arrival of Duque to the presidency, there has been a persecution against social leaders in different regions of the country. Faced with this, María Jimena and another group of journalists have created an initiative to share the spaces of mass communication so that the leaders themselves can denounce the injustices of the Colombian system.

It seems patriarchy in the region has been permeated with trafficking, forced marriages, domestic violence and that it is a social pandemic, this being a cross-cutting phenomenon in the poorest countries. The speakers argue that we need a comprehensive, systemic and holistic vision to define a culture that changes masculinity. Concrete actions that empower women are also required. One of the neuralgic points to stop the violence is the economic empowerment - women with economic independence will not tolerate the circle of violence. Therefore it is important that the whole system changes through laws, mentalities and governments. The more women there are making decisions, the more they will think about other women and their needs.

Finally, Mexican lawyer Mariana Benitez spoke about how work against violence began with the visualization of it. Once the violence was recognized, it was possible to get to legislate first at an international level and then at a national level. Bringing in the gender perspective in criminal investigations to criminal justice is also crucial.

In conclusion, although progress has already been made on issues of impunity and laws against feminicide, this has not been enough. The levels of violence persist and in many places they have increased. A more proactive change of culture, mentality and criminal justice is needed, starting with the investigation of the case until the punishment of the crime.

 

This article is part of a series on #WFAmericas. Watch the full session on YouTube.