Reports show difficulties in combating gender violence

Activist in Spain protests gender violence against women. Archive photo: Europa Press
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• Unmployment, fear of reprisal, shame deter victims from reporting violence
• More than 1/4 Spanish youth surveyed say violence ‘normal’ in relationships

As hundreds of local, regional and national groups across Spain prepare to commemorate this year’s UN-backed International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on Saturday 25th November, fresh reports from activist organisations indicate the difficulty in accurately monitoring and effectively combatting violence against women in Spain.

According to a recent report from the Adecco Foundation, accurate monitoring of the level of violence against women in Spain is made difficult in part by the fact that unemployment and the fear of reprisal stop seven out of 10 women victims from denouncing violence toward them or their children. In addition, some 61 percent of victims say they find it difficult to denounce the abuse because they are ashamed to recognize the level of violence that they have tolerated.

In 2014, a report by the the European Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) found that Spain’s levels of violence against women, whether from domestic partners or non-partners, were among the lowest recorded within the 28 member states of the European Union (EU). But, that report also noted that anomalies in reporting related to levels of urban vs rural population, education, consumption of alcohol and other factors could skew the reporting figures and mask the degree of gender violence in a society.

According to the Adecco report, the reporting of gender violence in Spain is complicated by other factors that compound women’s reticence to denounce their agressors, as evidenced by its findings that 75 percent of the victims of gender violence surveyed said they were in a vulnerable economic position at the time they were abused, either unemployed or underemployed or working in the informal economy with no job security.

Separately, figures released as part of the Barometer 2017 survey conducted by ProyectoScopio, an initiative of Spain’s Queen Sofia Center on Adolescence and Youth, showed the uphill battle faced by Spain in raising awareness among future generations about the levels and dangers of gender violence in society. According to this year’s Barometer report, more than one quarter of Spanish youth surveyed (27 percent) said they see gender violence in relationships between young couples as “normal” and more than 20 percent say they feel the level of gender violence in Spain is “exaggerated” by the media.

Since 2002, more than 900 women have died in Spain at the hands of their current or former domestic partners. According to women’s rights activists in Spain, so far this year a total of 48 women and seven children have been killed in incidents of domestic violence.

► Read More in Spanish at Europa Press, El País and El Mundo …

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