BUENOS AIRES – The shock over the murders of nine women in Argentina over the past week on Tuesday came to a head with renewed urgent calls for the government to act to avoid new victims and guarantee the protection within the family home.
“The figure for a week is very high,” said Ada Rico, director of the Marisel Zambrano Femicide Observatory, which is part of the non-governmental organization Casa del Encuentro.
“We’re concerned. They must take urgent measures to prevent more women from dying from sexist violence,” added Rico, who recalled that on June 3 tens of thousands of people shouted “Not one more” in marches organized nationwide to protest violence against women.
In eight of the nine murders this past week, the suspects are partners or former partners of the victims who – in at least two cases – had gotten restraining orders against them resulting from previous violent episodes.
In the ninth murder, the 18-year-old victim was found dead in a field and the initial investigation has found that she engaged in prostitution. Authorities are searching for one of her customers as the presumed killer.
Five of the crimes were committed in Buenos Aires province, two in Salta and one each in Rio Negro and Mendoza.
“They have to implement protective mechanisms,” said Rico, who added that the current budget for that is insufficient and the next government should increase the number of women’s shelters and guarantee access to the court system for women who find themselves threatened.
In addition, she called for protection for the children of the victims with the approval of two new laws, one removing parental responsibilities from husbands or partners convicted of femicide and the other providing economic reparations for the children.
Between 2008 and 2014, 1,808 women were killed in domestic or sexual violence in Argentina, according to figures compiled by the Femicide Observatory. As a result of those murders, 2,196 children were left without mothers.