BOLIVIA. Sucre: La Fuerza Especial de Lucha Contra la Violencia (FELCV) Bolivia registered ninety-six cases of femicides in Bolivia as of October 2020. Juan Carlos Alarcón, the national director of FELCV, confirmed there are a total of twenty-five thousand cases of violence against women and girls in the country at present.
A report by the United Nations (ONU) states that Bolivia has the highest rate of physical violence against women. Worldwide, 70% of the female population suffers or has suffered physical or sexual violence. Bolivia ranks second-worst in number of women who have been impacted by sexual violence, behind only Haiti, which worries associations and people fighting for women’s rights.
All Saints Day: a day to remember those who have passed
Bolivians celebrate All Saints Day every 2 Nov. to remember their loved ones who have passed. This celebration; however, is different this year due to the pandemic. Visitors are allowed to enter the cemeteries under police control, social distancing, and bio-security measures.
In response to the lack of justice in cases of femicide, some women protested in the front of the Cemetery of Sucre, Bolivia on Sunday 1 Nov., a day before All Saints Day. The small group of women chanted in unison demanding justice.
After a few minutes, the women were asked to leave. As an explanation for such measures, the police officers highlighted that due to the pandemic, people should not gather in groups. However, a day before, during the Halloween celebration on 31 Oct., a large group of people gathered in the main square of the city.
One of the protesters told Transcontinental Times, “In Bolivia, 2 Nov. is the day of All Saints Day. We believe that people who have died come to visit us. Every year we prepare a table as an offering to honour the women who have died by femicide.”
What does the government do to fight violence against women?
Women in Bolivia have the right to a life free of violence. Article Nº 348 guarantees this right for women in Bolivia. Although the law exists, the cases of violence against them in 2020, have not been reduced.
Gabriela Yáñez Garvizu, Master in Clinical Psychology, who works at a shelter house for women victims of violence, funded by the city hall of Sucre, told Transcontinental Times, “There are already ninety-eight women who have died.” She added, “The State does not really take the necessary measures to prevent femicides.”
What can society do to prevent femicides?
In 2019, there were 42,203 cases of gender-based violence, and from January to October of 2020, there were 25,500 cases. These numbers, unfortunately, show that there is still a lot of work to do.
When asked why the current efforts have not helped to reduce the cases of femicide in the country, Yáñez answered, “We should work on prevention.” She added, “The unique way to fight femicides is to break the patterns and roles of gender.” She concluded by saying, “The change in society we want scares many people because they do not want to lose their privileges.”