BOGOTA, Colombia – Feminist groups celebrated International Women’s Day with the conviction that their movement is growing. In Caracas, Andrea Paola Hernández recently held up her green bandana to show she is pro-choice.
Hernández, 26, remembers fondly how hundreds of green-clad women celebrated in Argentina late last year after winning their fight to legalize abortion.
The student at the National Experimental University of the Arts is a Women Deliver activist. She said her single mother, who raised her and three other children, is the inspiration behind her fight.
“Many people feel disconnected to these movements, so it will take a while to reach these goals here,” Hernández said in Spanish as she sat alongside the LGBTQ rainbow flag.
While the United Nations registered the cases more than doubled last year, Utopix registered 167 in 2019 and 256 cases in 2020.
The Organization of American States reported concerns over the increase of femicides citing unofficial records. The dozens of victims were mostly between 21 to 35 years old.
The lockdowns of the pandemic also raised the risk of domestic violence last year for women who are forced to live with abusive partners.
“This is a reality that doesn’t stop,” Magda Marleon said in Spanish, adding it is worsening. “It is vital that all of Venezuelan society reject all types of violence against women.”
Last month, hundreds marched in Acarigua to protest the murders of Eliannys Martinez, 17, and Eduarlis Falcon, 20, who were both victims of sexual violence. Martinez was kidnapped after church and Falcon before going to the gym.
The OAS also reported the situation of healthcare for pregnant women, was likely boosting their migration to neighboring countries.
According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank based in Washington, D.C., at least 40% of the over 5.3 million refugees that have fled the country are women and this makes them vulnerable to sexual violence, exploitation, and human trafficking.
To raise awareness of this and other challenges, Mujeres Radio started streaming late last year in Caracas. Mónica Tamarones started the independent station, which has a YouTube channel, an Instagram page, and a community on Whatsapp.
“People can’t wait until one of their female family members is killed, we have to get the word out,” Tamarones said. “This is another silent pandemic.”
Map by COTEJO
More facts about femicides in Latin America
- About 4,555 women were victims in 15 Latin American countries and four Caribbean countries in 2019.
- In Latin America, the highest rates of femicide were in Honduras, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, and Bolivia.
- There were 1,941 femicides in Brazil, 983 in Mexico, 299 in Honduras, 252 in Argentina, 226 in Colombia and 128 in Peru.
Source: The United Nations,