|There is no end to violence against working-class women|
|Written by IWL – FI|
|Friday, 26 November 2010 18:52|
|The First Feminist Encounter of Latin America and the Caribbean was held in Bogotá, Colombia in 1981. It was there that activists November 25th was chosen to be the International Day of No Violence Against Women in commemoration of the death of the three Mirabal sisters, political activists of the Dominican Republic, brutally murdered in 1960 by Rafael Leonidas Trijillo who was the dictator at that time. In 1999 the UN ratified that date as commemorative of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
Far from recoiling, violence against women has acquired pandemic features according to the UN. According to data from October 2010, 59% of women “suffer from all kinds of physical, sexual, psychological and economic violence in and out of their homes”. In Brazil, every four minutes there is a woman who suffers aggression at home; ten women are murdered a day. The corpse disappears more often than not; it is thrown into the river or thrown to the dogs. In all these cases, those women had reported danger to the police, they appealed to law. But that did not save them. In Colombia, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Venezuela poverty is 5% higher in homes headed by women than in those headed by men. In El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Peru these figures are even worse. Every year, a million young people and another million women all over the world become sexual slaves.
One out of every four women has been raped at some moment of their lives. About 120 million women have suffered genital mutilation, just like in very old days; women and girls are often war booty during armed conflicts in Africa, Latin America and Europe. According to the magazine Semana, of all the sexual assault against women committed between 1993 and 2008, 58% were perpetrated by paramilitaries, 23% by members of public service and 8% by guerrillas.
In spite of the fact that there are laws that protect women, impunity is rampant, especially in countries known as developing. The above mentioned cases in Brazil, systematic murders in the Ciudad Juarez in Mexico, the recent murders and rapes of girls in Arauca, Colombia, by a member of the Armed Forces, or the systematic rapes committed by the blue helmets of the UN in Somalia and Haiti are strong proofs of the above.
The world economic crisis has left 60 million people without a job and in poverty. According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OCDE), unemployment will affect the most vulnerable sectors of world population: young people, immigrants, temporary workers and women. If we take into consideration that a fair share of young people, immigrants, temporary workers are women, we can arrive at the conclusion that women are in the worst situation.
Conclusion: capitalism is particularly vicious with the weakest sectors of society. It is obvious that this capitalist and patriarchal society will never protect women, specially working women and destitute women, who are most affected. We can achieve laws, but then they will not be complied with. That is just another reason to put an end to capitalism. We shall never eradicate this violence unless we first eradicate capitalism and replace it by socialism where there will be no exploitation and no oppression and where equality and solidarity will reign among men and women.
Criminalisation of the abortion is another way of exerting violence against women
Capitalist society condemns women who practise abortion. This same society that condemns them has debased feminine sexuality within public and private scope, has prostituted women and uses them as sexual objects while disapproving of them when they want to practise it freely. Most of the countries do not guarantee adequate sexual education at school and neither will they allow free contraceptives. They want to keep women subdued by means of false ideologies of the dominating class and the reactionary sectors of society. Deliberately, women are denied knowledge of the functioning of their bodies, of their sexuality and of control of reproduction not only in order to maintain male chauvinism as an instrument of oppression but also in order to perpetuate the exploitation of feminine labour force, which is cheaper than masculine. Women of the working class and of the poorest sectors of society are doomed to have undesired pregnancies even though they cannot guarantee the slightest material and emotional conditions necessary for harmonic development. Capitalist system condemns those children to be sitting ducks for the worst curse of society: delinquency, drug addiction or unemployment.
The figures related to clandestine abortions and death rate among women related to pregnancy corroborate that the postures that criminalise abortion in the name of the defence of life are nothing but sheer hypocrisy. Let us see some figures: There are 75 million undesired pregnancies in the world every year and 50 million induced abortions carried out in conditions of high risk as well as 600 000 maternal deaths.
The role of the Catholic Church, full of women and children abusers, is especially lethal, for this institution not only is against the abortion but also the use of preservatives which makes it doom their young followers to catch the AIDS.
On the other hand, at precarious jobs – the only ones most young women workers can gain access to – pregnancy is cause to immediate dismissal, something that is constantly happening in Argentina. This is just another form of violence against young women who wish to be mothers.
We, the working-class women, can take advantage of this 25th of November and together with our male class comrades spread the awareness that violence and mistreatment are mechanisms of oppression and a means to maintain the capitalist system against thousands of millions of workers and of the poor of the world. This date should become a day of struggle and mobilisation for the right to secure and free abortion for those women who do not wish to be mothers, against the dismissal of pregnant women; for the right to equal salary for equal work, the same for men and women and sufficient to be able to bring our children in decent conditions. For nurseries for the working mothers and free education – including superior levels – for men and women. For special homes for beaten women. Punishment of those who beat women, rape them, murder them and profiteers of sexuality of women and children, especially if they are public servants.
International Workers’ League (IWL-FI)