Chiapas is one of the states with the highest number of Gender Alerts in Mexico. In the International Women’s Day, the 2º Day for the Visibility of Women’s Participation in Society was organized, with the objective of informing the population about the direct or indirect silencing of women.
Mexico is experiencing an increase in the number of cases of violence against women. In 2015, the Secretary of the Interior of Mexico issued the Declaration of Gender Violence Alert. Since then, 13 of the 32 states in the country have activated the gender-based violence against women alert (AVGM). This is a mechanism for the protection of women’s human rights, with the objective of establishing immediate measures for the investigation and protection of human rights.
This alert was issued in the state of Chiapas for the first time in 2016. Chiapas is one of the states with the highest rates of gender alert in Mexico, with the alert activated in 7 municipalities and 17 other requiring specific action.
According to the Feminist Observatory against Violence against Women in Chiapas, in January 2019 there were 17 women who suffered violent deaths. There were also 14 adult women and 19 girls missing. There are still no official figures on missing girls in the state.
To know more about the current situation in Chiapas, regarding gender violence and gender alerts, we spoke to the professor Danae Pombo González, who is in charge of the Gender Area of the Faculty of Humanities of the Autonomous University of Chiapas and the organizer of the 2º Day for the Visibility of Women’s Participation in Society.
And she brings good news: the approval, this week, of the draft law proposed by deputy Aida Guadalupe Jiménez regarding the criminalization of the unconsented distribution of “nudes”.
Chiapas ranks on the top in numbers of gender alerts in Mexico. What do you consider to be the main reason for this?
I think one of the main reasons has to do with sociocultural issues. It is undeniable that the cultural aspect has an important influence on behavior and in what is socially acceptable. The reality is that we live in a heteropatriarchal system, which determines and validates behaviors that are extremely offensive towards women.
Chiapas still has many communities that are governed by customs, where it is perfectly normal to observe that women are used as exchangeable objects. Communities in which parents, as owners, exchange their daughters. Hence, the woman is seen as another object, an object that has no value, that is a symbol of desire, satisfaction and even property.
Add to this the lack of public policies to combat this issue. The historical refusal of the government in recognizing this problem has also been decisive. By not recognizing it, there are no public policies, nor are there actions. In some cases, they even hide the femicides and this has its impacts.
Since the declaration of the gender alert, has any change been felt in Chiapas?
Structurally, there have been changes with the creation of protocols, prosecutor’s offices, and communal spaces. However, in practice, in terms of the number of femicides and gender violence, there has been an increase.
One of the reasons for this increase is the fact that those protocols and those spaces are not consistent, in terms of gender violence.
For example, cases of murderers of women, instead of being treated as femicides, are treated as a suicide, as domestic violence, or crimes of passion. That “crime of passion” responds to a machista and patriarchal structure, of course that it is gender violence.
Although spaces have been created and there has been political recognition, we are not seeing results. In contrast, we are seeing that every day there is more violence against women, every day there are more femicides.
How can the international community of activists collaborate and get involved with the situation in Chiapas?
I think it is important that we are always attentive and alert to everything that is happening in terms of gender.
I think the important thing is for the entire international community to see what is happening, from public policies to governmental issues and to human rights situations that are not being dealt with.