Five women killed in four days as gender violence spikes in Spain

Around 1,000 people gathered in downtown Madrid on Wednesday to demand government action

A 91-year-old woman died on Wednesday in the western Spanish province of Badajoz after being stabbed by her husband. She was the fifth fatality in a four-day period that marks a particularly bad record for gender violence in Spain.

Protesters chanted against gender violence in Madrid on Wednesday.
Protesters chanted against gender violence in Madrid on Wednesday.Isabel Valdés

On Tuesday, two women were murdered in the Valencia region, and another one was stabbed to death in Barcelona province by her husband. All three suspects had restraining orders and had been repeatedly reported for episodes of violence.

A day earlier, another woman died in the Galician province of Pontevedra in Spain’s north-west following a explosion that was allegedly caused by her husband.

How many more murdered women will it take before somebody does something?

This brings the total death toll to 16 this year, the worst figure since 2001.

On Wednesday, around 1,000 marchers converged on Madrid’s central square, Puerta del Sol, to show support for half a dozen women from an association called Ve-la Luz who have been camped out there for 13 days to demand that legislators make gender violence a matter of State.

Protesters chanted slogans such as “This is not an isolated case, it’s called patriarchy” or “We want to be alive.”

Their demands include activating a crisis cabinet meeting to deal with a recurring situation. Last year, 44 women died at the hands of their former or current partners, according to official records.

“Politicians only dropped by unofficially, to ask us whether we wanted an Aquarius [soft drink]. They sit in their armchairs and live in a world removed from reality, a reality that affects all of us women,” said Gloria Vázquez, president of Ve-la Luz.

“We are sick and tired of the minutes of silence. We need to scream out to the world that we are being assassinated.”

Since the conservative Popular Party (PP) came to power in late 2011, the budget allocation for the prevention of gender violence has been cut by 19%, going from slightly over €31 million in 2010 to €25.2 million in 2016.

“Ending gender violence is everyone’s responsibility, and thus getting the 2017 budget passed is also everyone’s responsibility,” said Health Minister Dolors Montserrat in reply to a congressional question about how this budget reduction may be affecting women.

The head of the Observatory against Domestic and Gender Violence, Ángeles Carmona, has expressed “consternation” over the recent murders, And the women of Ve-la luz say they will not budge from Puerta del Sol until they get some answers.

“How many more murdered women will it take before somebody does something?,” they chanted into their loudspeakers.

English version by Susana Urra.

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