The murder of six people, five of them women, in Argentina over the space of 48 hours has once again spotlighted the problem of gender-related violence in the South American country, following a high-profile case last month involving the rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl.
On Saturday evening, a naval NCO named as Orlando Oreja in the eastern province of Entre Ríos shot dead two former partners. He has since been arrested.
Violence against women continues to increase in Argentina
On Monday, a man named as Juan Pablo Ledesma broke into the home of his former partner, named as Johanna Carranza, and stabbed her to death, along with her two daughters, aged five and seven, as well as the woman’s partner. Ledesma then reportedly tried to commit suicide.
Carranza had reported Ledesma to the police and he had been issued with a restraining order. Neighbors alerted the authorities when they heard screaming and shouting around 3 am.
Ojeda had also been reported by one of his former partners, named as Lidia Milessi, with whom he had three daughters.
Speaking in the wake of the killings, Argentinean Security Minister Patricia Bullrich said in a radio interview that women in her country faced “very high levels of violence.” She added that security measures to protect women would be increased. She that women who reported former partners to the police would be given a special telephone, while their aggressors would have to wear an electronic tag that would send a signal to the police if they came within a certain distance of their victim.
Bullrich called on women to report “the first act of aggression” to the authorities. That said, the latest data in the National Register of Femicides, set up two years ago, shows that 20% of the 235 women killed last year had reported their aggressor to the authorities. The report shows that 27% of women murdered had not reported their problems to the police. In 53% of cases there was no information.
The country is still in shock over the rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl last month
The Security Minister also criticized courts for failing to hand down tougher sentences to men who beat their partners or former partners. She also called for long-term measures to change the attitudes of boys and young men toward women.
Over the last two years, women’s organizations in Argentina have held huge nationwide marches to protest gender-based violence under the slogan, Ni una menos (Not one less). But violence against women continues to increase. The National Register of Femicides shows that 225 women were murdered in Argentina in 2014, and 235 in 2015. This year looks set to match those figures.
On October 8, Lucía Pérez was reportedly picked up outside her school in the coastal city of Mar del Plata, some 300 kilometers south of the capital of Buenos Aires. She was then drugged, gang raped and allegedly penetrated with a wooden pole. Her killers then washed her, changed her clothes and took her to a medical center, alleging she had suffered an overdose. She died in hospital. Three men have been arrested.
English version by Nick Lyne.