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Ecuador Commemorates the International Day Against Gender Violence

Every year on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1999, is commemorated. Thousands of netizens have remembered this day, sharing information and reactions against this social issue that women live with throughout the world.

In Ecuador, various events [es] transpired. Daily newspaper El Mercurio [es] reported that in Quito, Ecuador's capital, a convoy of cyclists assembled itself in commemoration of the day.

El Mercurio also shared the following statistics: “According to research carried out in 2010 by the Transition Committee for the Council of Women and Gender Equality, 93.8% of all homicides in Ecuador are femicides (murders of women) or are suspected to be such. Additionally, 66% of all femicides were committed by the victims’ partners or ex-partners.”

Loja's Commission for Women and Family Life [es] organized a cultural event dedicated to “No violence,” with performances by local and national artists:

Evento cultural en Loja, Ecuador

Cultural event in Loja, Ecuador. Photo shared on Facebook by Loja's Commissioner for Family Life.

Janina Mendoza (@janimendoza12) [es] shared a photo of the march that took place in Guayaquil against the mistreatment of women:

Marcha "No a la violencia" en Guayaquil, Ecuador

“No to violence” parade in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Photo shared by Twitter user @janimendoza12

Others, like Assemblywoman Gina Godoy (@GinaGodoyAndrad) [es], posted information about gender violence in Ecuador:

@GinaGodoyAndrad: Ecuador segun encuestas d INEC [Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censo] 6 d cada 10 mujeres han vivido algun tipo d violencia (fisica, psicologica, sexual) di NO a la VIOLENCIA

@GinaGodoyAndrad: In Ecuador, according to surveys from INEC (National Institute of Statistics and the Census), 6 out of 10 women have suffered some type of violence (physical, psychological, sexual) say NO to VIOLENCE

On her blog Lunas Azules [es], Silvana Tapia, a lawyer from Cuenca, published a post entitled “Education, Gender Roles and Violence.” [es] In the post, Silvana presents the reality of a justice system that fails to grant the protection necessary to women that report abuse:

El juez, el fiscal, el policía que intervinieron en el proceso y que tenían la obligación de protegerla, tienen incorporados a su cosmovisión una serie de mitos y prejuicios machistas que no se ven mal en el medio social, sino que más bien son el estándar: el policía piensa que “seguramente ella se lo buscó, debe haber sido una mala mujer”; el fiscal quizá imaginó que “hay mujeres que se autolesionan para meter en problemas a sus maridos”; el juez comentó con su colega en algún momento: “eso es lo que sucede cuando las mujeres se salen de la casa y no se dedican al hogar”.

The judge, the district attorney, the police — all of whom intervened in the process and were obligated to protect her — have a series of myths and macho prejudices incorporated into their perspectives on the world that are not viewed poorly by society, but rather are the standard: the police think that “surely she asked for it, she must have been a bad woman,” the district attorney perhaps imagined that “there are women that self-harm to get their husbands into trouble,” the judge commented to his colleague at one point that “this is what happens when women leave the house and do not dedicate themselves to the home.”

Silvana continues, analyzing the education that law students receive in Ecuador:

En las facultades de Derecho del país, no se prepara a los estudiantes con una visión incluyente de la sociedad. Se da poco espacio o hasta se evita discutir problemas críticos como la penalización del aborto, el matrimonio y la adopción LGBTI, y la violencia de género oculta en nuestras actividades más cotidianas, incluso ejercida desde el propio profesor, aquél que mira lascivamente a la estudiante que se ha presentado al examen con minifalda, porque sabe que eso apuntalará su calificación; y lo que es peor, está contenta de ser vista como un objeto, no cree contar con otras herramientas, le han enseñado que ese es su destino

The country's law schools do not prepare students with an inclusive vision of society. Little to no attention is given to discussing critical problems such as the criminalization of abortion [es], LGBTI marriage and adoption [es], and the gender violence hidden beneath our most daily activities, even exhibited by the very professor who leers at the female student that arrived to take an exam in a miniskirt because she knows that this will affect her grade; and what is worse is that she is content with being objectified, she does not think to count on other tools because she has been taught that this is her destiny

The author later concludes with, among other things, the hope that one day things will change for the better:

Quizá algún día dejemos de ver como el “curso natural de las cosas” a la historia de esa chica que destacó en sus estudios, que tenía un enamorado con el que a veces discutía y con el que después se casó, un marido que la llamó “mujer desnaturalizada” cuando quiso volver al trabajo después de su licencia por maternidad, que se burló de ella cuando propuso estudiar un posgrado, que le levantó la voz una noche porque la sopa estaba fría y finalmente la golpeó sin piedad y delante de los hijos porque le vio sonreírle a un viejo amigo del colegio en alguna fiesta.

Maybe one day we will stop seeing it as “nature's course” when we hear stories of a girl who excelled in her studies, who had a boyfriend with whom she sometimes argued and who she later married, a husband who called her an “unnatural woman” when she wanted to return to work after being on maternity leave, who made fun of her when she came to him with the idea of pursuing her masters degree, who raised his voice at her one night when the soup was cold and finally hit her mercilessly in front of their children because he saw her smile at an old friend from high school at a party.

“Love is not violence: don't stay silent” Photo by Gina Yauri

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