Ongoing epidemic of gender based violence
Violence directed at women and girls in El Salvador is an ongoing epidemic. The levels of gender-based violence are rooted in structures and attitudes and the simple fact that men can get away with it.
The Guardian reported today on alarming statistics of sexual violence in the country:
Rates of sexual violence in El Salvador rose by a third last year, with the majority of cases involving teenage girls. More than 60% of the 4,304 cases of sexual violence recorded in 2018 involved 12- to 17-year-olds, according to a report published this week by the Organisation of Salvadoran Women for Peace (Ormusa). About 20% of the 560 cases of missing women last year were also among this age group.
In 2017, the number of sexual violence cases was 3,290. Overall the country has witnessed a 13% increase in number of instances of violence against women, from 5,781 in 2017 to 6,673 last year.And although femicides have declined (along with the general murder rate), the rates in El Salvador are still of epidemic proportions. The authors of a report on gender based violence in the Northern Triangle were recently interviewed on El Faro Radio:
According to the data, in the last five years there have been 6,936 violent deaths of women in the three countries. However, El Salvador maintains the highest murder rate. While the number of murders of women due to gender violence is between 8 and 9 cases per 100 thousand women in Guatemala and Honduras, in El Salvador the rate has fluctuated between 12 and 14 cases. For 2017, in 10 of the 14 departments of El Salvador these rates surpassed 20 homicides per 100 thousand women.
In the region, says the report and the activists emphasize, violence against women registers figures of an epidemic. [Report authors] Morena and Moisa insist that the causes of the problem are more structural and are related to, in large part, to the social context. "Inequality is the root of violent behavior against women"As the report authors emphasized, El Salvador may have good laws in the text on the books, but until there are changes in institutional attitudes and practices and societal norms of behavior, great numbers of women will continue to be victimized on the basis of gender.