Mexico began its ‘quarantine’ in March. Not only has the curve not flattened, but femicides increase in Mexico during the coronavirus pandemic.
On March 11th the WHO declared the spread of COVID-19 as a pandemic. Governments took action and most of us were recommended to quarantine.
But what does staying at home look like?
For many women this quarantine has been a horror story. This situation has proven the incapacity and inefficiency of the government, on a huge and sad scale.
In general, people talk about the poor management of the health situation in the country. However, if that is disappointing, there is an uncomfortable reality that the media is not talking about.
Females keep getting murdered. They are killed in the streets and currently even more in their homes.
At the end of March, López Gatell, the Under-Secretary of Health, asked the population to ‘stay at home’. This was deemed the best alternative to flatten the curve. For some of us, staying at home sounded hard but fine. For many others, this turned into hell. It wasn’t about staying at home, but about being with your abuser 24/7 – for who knew how long.
Femicides haven’t gone on quarantine.
This is happening while the President dares to say that women have never been so well cared as in their administration.
The reality is much different. Femicides have increased by 7.7% during the first trimester of the year. The situation is getting more out of control and sadly the authorities keep pretending that they care when they don’t.
After the quarantine was announced, it didn’t take long for the domestic violence to show up harder.
Just during March the country’s emergency call centers overflowed with more than 26,000 reports of violence. Once again, the President got the audacity to suggest that 90% of those calls were fake. One more avoidance to take responsibility and action.
A counterproductive solution was suggested.
In May 2020, the government finally began a campaign with the purpose to fight domestic violence. It was called: “Count to 10”. As if counting to ten would fight macho culture!
In a few words, this campaign was far from enough. It was absurd.
The spot said some things like:
“Before violence takes hold of you, before you get mad at your partner, before you despair: count, count, count. Count to 10 and get the white flag of peace”
Everything was wrong with it. The problem in Mexico is not about isolated anger issues. It is a structural system that allows females and kids to stay in their vulnerable positions.
This campaign, full of images and videos, didn’t show violence against women. Instead it suggested that women were exaggerating.
Ultimately, the whole campaign held the women responsible for causing discomfort to their partners, which is again reproducing macho culture.
The government and the President himself seems to live in another reality – not one in which femicides are increasing. They isolate the problem to an issue that corresponds to the families individually and privately.
The problem has always been there.
‘Stay at home’ was the strategy that supposedly would keep us safe because we are living a pandemic. But we must pay attention to the other pandemic, the one that has been here even longer. As Antonio Gutierres, UN Secretary-General said:
Violence against women and girls
is a global pandemic.
As femicides increase in Mexico, the country is not recovering from COVID-19. Sadly, this is carrying more challenges and the government is not doing enough. Instead it’s cutting off key budgets that should be addressing these gender problems.
The arguments was the austerity that the federal administration has promoted. They are trying to “do more with less”. How do they plan to do so, when they can’t achieve to do basics with a regular budget?
It is humiliating the cynical way that the government proves women’s safety is far from a priority.
In summary, Mexico is fighting great battles right now.
COVID-19 has killed thousands and sadly those losses are not the only ones we are grieving as women keep suffering from violence.
It’s a shame how key decision makers are doing nothing and pretending that nothing is happening as femicides increase in Mexico. Simultaneously, those who could try to do something are losing power.