In Mexico 10 women die a day as a result of femicide, a rate that has increased 137 percent since 2015—four times that of other homicides. In recent years, feminicides are increasingly public with women’s corpses left on display, sometimes with visible signs of torture or beatings. The killings of Ingrid Escamilla and Fatima Aldrighetti, who was only 7 years old when her life was taken, shocked the public in early 2020. Ms. Escamilla’s body had been found horribly mutilated by her partner and photos of her body were leaked on social media and the press, sparking outrage as protesters demanded an end to impunity for feminicides; fewer than 3 percent of feminicides are prosecuted and a mere 1 percent are sentenced. A report issued by the Secretariat of Home Affairs, the National Institute for Women, and UN Women examining data spanning from 1985-2016 found that women victims are three times more likely to die from strangulation, hanging, suffocation or drowning than men and 1.3 times more likely to die by stabbing. In Mexico, femicide is more than an epidemic, it is a scare tactic.
The nation of El Salvador is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a woman, seven of 10 women have reported experiencing violence in their lifetimes while a third of women reported experiencing violence in the last 12 months. In 2018, for every 100,000 women, 6.8 were victims of femicide which is nearly 10 times the global average and the highest feminicide rate in Latin America. In 2019, data collected by Gender Statistics Observatory of the General Directorate of Statistics and Censuses (DIGESTYC) found that between January and June, 70 cases of violence against women were reported each day. In addition to the 230 registered femicides from 2019, 1,218 women were reported missing. There is evidence that the rule of law in El Salvador continues to weaken; according to the World Governance Indicators, El Salvador scored in the 19th percentile of all countries in rule of law, down from the 30th percentile ten years ago. The most significant factor in that decline is the gang violence that that dominates the Salvadoran landscape and is a driver for the alarming levels of violence against women and impunity.
Approximately every seven hours a women dies because she is a woman in Brazil. Last year Brazil set a record high of 1,341 femicides, an increase of 4 percent over the previous year. To give a sense of the truly breathtaking scope of the problem, in 2018, Latin America and the Caribbean recorded 3,287 femicides—37 percent of which took place in in Brazil. Feminicides have continued to rise despite Brazil’s adoption of legislation that criminalizes feminicide. Since the law went into force in 2015, femicides have increased by 62.7 percent. Brazil first criminalized violence against women in 2006 with the sweeping Maria da Penha Law (Lei Nº 11.340), named after the human rights activist and biopharmacist Maria da Penha who fought for the law after she was nearly murdered by her husband and left paralyzed. The law addresses domestic violence by criminalizing it, establishing special courts, and requiring the authorities to create 24-hour shelters for victims. The law provides protection to the victim, empowering judges to put in place temporary restraining orders. It was a seismic shift for a country that had failed to protect Maria da Penha and countless women like her.
|United States of America
|The Wilson Center