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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Violence against Women, a Global Phenomenon

By Vivian Collazo Montano*

Violence against women, a phenomenon persisting in all countries of the world, can only be removed by political will and the judicial and civil proceedings in the various sectors of society.

In a study by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 10 countries on women's health and domestic violence, it was determined that between 15 and 71 % of women had experienced physical or sexual violence perpetrated by the husband or partner.

Many women said that their first sexual experience was not consensual and most of them reported physical abuse during pregnancy. However, experts estimate that this is only a part of reality, since few are the cases coming to light. Myths and social prejudices, the obstacles presented in the administration of justice against those who decide to declare, among many other factors, impede knowing reality.


That's why Venezuela developed an organic law on the women's right to a life free of abuse, said the lawyer Ingrid Rada Romero, president of the foundation for the family welfare (Fundabiefa) in the South American nation.

The lawyer, who was also Communication Prize for Peace 2011, spoke on the legal tools available to her country to protect women against all manifestations of abuse, a common problem but often invisible, during a workshop on violence and the media recently held in Havana.

Enacted in March 2007, the law punishes all forms of psychological, physical, domestic, economic and sexual prostitution and other behaviors that minimize or damaged in some way to females, Rada said.

He also stressed that the bodies responsible for receiving complaints in Venezuela are obliged to hear the case, order the urgent errands, guide the victim, do appear the offender, impose security and protection measures, form a file and send it to the prosecutor.

In addition, those affected can receive legal advice, help and state assistance, she said.

In Cuba, even though it was not until the 90s of the last century that the studies on violence began to gain momentum, interest in the investigation of this phenomenon is strong and increasing, which has allowed to know and deepen into the specific of this topic, said Magela Romero, professor at the University of Havana.

Romero said that the results obtained support the conclusion that gender violence on the island is a national problem, although there are indications that most often occur in the eastern region of the country.


The female victimization usually occurs in romantic relationships and into the home environment, and most of the time there is a history of domestic violence in childhood from the attackers, said the expert.

The work done also have identified that there is no special profile to describe the battered woman or the aggressor man. Jealousy, alcoholism, financial problems and frustration are among the most frequent causes of aggression.

Victims often do not seek help because of the fears they have and the persistence of myths about violence, she said.

Romero recognized the need to continue with further research on the phenomenon, and sensitizing people and local actors serving this problem in communities, institutions and support services, also the community as a whole, especially men.

Each November 25 marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, adopted in 1999 by the General Assembly of the United Nations, but the important thing is to make this day a permanent period. (Prensa Latina)

* Head of the Science and Technology Editorial Department of Prensa Latina News Agency