Special Report Highlights Femicide

animated poster that states "VIOLENCE" with a cross-out sign on top

Global Press, a longtime Channel grantee partner, released a special report on gender violence in Latin America and the Caribbean on November 25, 2023, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The five-part report includes an overview of femicide in Latin America over the past 15 years, four stories about femicide in Argentina, Haiti, Mexico, and Puerto Rico, and a gender violence map.

The report, “15 Years After Latin America’s First Femicide Law, the Killings Continue”, provides an in-depth look at femicide and gender violence over the past 15 years. The report states that in Argentina, the number of women murdered has stayed almost entirely the same since 2008, despite the introduction of legislation addressing gender violence. This is a trend across most of Latin America and the Caribbean.  In Puerto Rico, over half the the requests for protection orders, or restraining orders, for domestic violence are denied. In Mexico, between 2015 and 2021, femicide rates nearly tripled. In 2021, nearly three women were killed each day due to femicide in Mexico. In Brazil, this number rose to five. Along with these statistics, the report highlights that despite the introduction of laws against femicide, there is a lack of legislation and support to improve education on femicide.

The first story on Argentina follows Ada Beatriz Rico and her work on recording femicide. Rico is the president and co-founder of La Casa del Encuentro, a “feminist civil association in Buenos Aires that works to prevent, report and eradicate gender-based violence.” Since 2008, Rico has been keeping track of femicide in newspapers and reports and collecting information on age, location, and weapon among other factors. Until 2015, La Casa del Encuentro was the only organization in Argentina recording femicides when the Supreme Court established its own registry.

The second story focuses on Haiti, where femicide and domestic violence is not criminalized. The story follows Philona Jean, a women’s rights advocate, lawyer, and founder of AFAK (Association for Women from Carénage), an organization that helps women find jobs. Jean highlights the lack of support for femicide and gender violence in Haiti and need for greater education. The third story focuses on Beatriz Adriana Pérez Encino, a survivor of attempted femicide and a first-generation law student. The story highlights the struggles of femicide in Mexico and the educational programs working to prevent gender-based violence. Lastly, the fourth story focuses on Puerto Rico and a new law making obtaining guns easier. The story discusses whether this new law is helpful for women or further perpetuating gender-based violence.

The report concludes with a gender violence map that highlights femicide rates across Latin America and the Caribbean. The map includes statistics on laws criminalizing femicide, protection measures, and rates of femicide.

Despite the call for increased action on femicide on gender-based violence in Latin America, programs are being implemented that provide hope. In 2018, Argentina introduced the Brisa Law, which established the government’s responsibility in supporting relatives of femicide victims and the provision of reparations.