Argentine Women Strike After Fatal Rape of Teenager

In Argentina, 16-year-old Lucia Perez was drugged and raped before being killed in the city of Mar del Plata—killed in so barbaric a way that in its report, BBC News printed a warning to readers before it provided the details.

Three men are in custody, the article notes, “but Lucia’s 19-year-old brother, Matias, wrote in a Facebook post that taking to the streets and shouting together was the only way to prevent “thousands more Lucias being killed,” and the only way to “close her eyes and see her rest in peace.’”

And so, in the pouring rain, thousands of women wearing black left their homes and offices and took to the streets of Buenos Aires for an hour, lamenting Lucia’s horrific death as well as, the BBC report notes, “the cultural values that keep macho practices alive here and all over Latin America.” They were joined by protesters in other Argentine cities.

On average, in Argentina, a woman is killed in domestic violence cases every 36 minutes. Argentina enacted an “anti-femicide” law in 2012, “with harsher penalties for men who kill women when gender plays a part in the crime. The new legislation also has tough penalties for domestic violence. Fifteen other countries in Latin America have written such laws, but critics say they are not being effectively implemented.”

(Effective implementation of laws against domestic violence can be lacking in the U.S., too. As psychologist Cecilia M. Ford noted in her recent article “Domestic Violence: Home Is Where the Hurt Is,”  “In many states, the laws are inadequate, and abusers who nearly kill their victims are charged with ‘assaulting a female,’ a misdemeanor (sometimes the sentence is 150 days in jail).

Some of the Argentine protesters showed anti-establishment rage, claiming they expected no change of attitude by the government, “despite President Mauricio Macri’s efforts to tackle gender issues,” the report noted.

“What they wanted, they said, was a cultural change.”

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  • Helen Graber October 24, 2016 at 7:31 am

    The article about the Argentine women was inspirational. Hopefully, the power of woman standing together and raising their voices will bring about change.