1 August 2008
Thousands of Mexican women who survive violence in their homes are being put at risk of further abuse by a justice system that often fails to take their safety seriously, said Amnesty International in a new report today. Amnesty International’s report explores the obstacles Mexican women face when trying to report cases of domestic violence – including the refusal of officials to accept complaints, deficient investigations and poor enforcement of protective measures. The report is being published 18 months after Mexico passed a law to counter violence against women. Violence against women in the home in Mexico – as in many other parts of the world -- is endemic. According to a national survey conducted in 2006, one in four women have suffered abuse at the hands of their partner and 82 per cent of women decided not to report it. Women who find the courage to report the abuse are often treated with indifference and have to prove they are subject to violence. In many cases officials even ask them to deliver summons to their aggressor. On 31 August 2005, Marcela’s former husband broke into her house in the state of Sonora and stabbed her, leaving her paralyzed for four months. Over the years, Marcela had made over 10 complaints to the public prosecutor’s office about the abuse she was suffering but every time she was advised to resolve the issue directly with her partner. One time, she was told “when you come with a bruise, we’ll do something”. After the stabbing, Marcela’s former husband was prosecuted for attempted murder and sentenced to 10 years but is now appealing the length of his sentence. Marcela is scared that when he is released he will find her and kill her. “What women in Mexico need is to have their complaints of abuse taken seriously and to be able to access justice as well as effective protection mechanisms such as refuges” said Kerrie Howard.
Latina Viva October 2008
Every 15 minutes a Mexican woman is attacked in her own home, and every year thousands of Mexican women die a violent death, with a daily average of five deceases. According to the National Commission of Human Rights (CNDH), Mexico is among the 15 nations of the world with more female victims of violent homicides, "In Latin America, between 30% and 45% of the women have been victims of violence, either physical, sexual or psychological", affirmed the specialist.
Amnesty International January 2009
On the second anniversary of the passing of the General Law on Women’s Access to a Life Free From Violence, Amnesty International said the law has had no impact in the majority of Mexico’s 32 states. According to information received by Amnesty International, there are a total of 60 shelters for women victims of violence in Mexico – those run by the authorities and those run by voluntary organizations included. This number is still completely inadequate in relation to the demand. There is a clear and deplorable lack of state-level commitment to implement the General Law on Women’s Access to a Life Free From Violence,” said Kerrie Howard, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Americas Program. “In practice, this lack of commitment means that the safety and lives of thousands of women are put in jeopardy." Amnesty International believes it is essential to create and implement criminal investigation protocols for use by staff of the public prosecutor's office, the police and experts when dealing with women filing complaints of abuse. These protocols must include an obligation to provide sufficient protection to guarantee the safety of the woman and her family.