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Gender-Based Violence in Spain on the Rise After End of State of Alarm

Gender-Based-Violence-Spain-20-Women-Killed-in-2021
Image: Pexels | Illustration: Marta Caro
Gender-Based-Violence-Spain-20-Women-Killed-in-2021
Image: Pexels | Illustration: Marta Caro

Over the past 30 days, 12 women have died at the hands of their partners or ex-partners, five within the space of a week. To understand the magnitude of the figure, eight women were killed during the first four months of the year.

Among the recent victims are María Teresa Alaro, 48, shot by her soon-to-be ex-husband with a hunting rifle in Asturias; Rocío Caíz, 17, killed and dismembered by her 23-year-old former boyfriend in Seville shortly after she had given birth; Elena Livigni, 21, thrown out a balcony by his 26-year-old boyfriend in a hotel in Ibiza; Lucía Dotto, 42, the director of a luxury hotel chain based in Spain and Portugal, and Warda Ouchane, 28, stabbed to death in Tarragona by her partner, who also killed Mohammed, their seven-year-old son. The latest victim, Consuelo, 81, died two days ago after being hit by her husband with a hammer.

This the grimmest month since the Spanish government started recording gender-based violence murders in 2003. A total of 1,098 women have been killed since. Data gathered by Spain’s Observatory against Domestic and Gender Violence also reveals that 40 minors have been murdered and 311 have been left orphans since 2013.

Just last week, after 44 days of searching, the body of six-year-old Olivia was found inside a sports bag, weighed down with an anchor at a depth of a thousand meters off the coast of Tenerife. On 27 April, her father, Tomás Gimeno, had picked up Olivia and her one-year-old sister, Anna, from the home of Beatriz Zimmerman, his ex-wife. Later that afternoon, he phoned Beatriz to tell her that she would never see her daughters again. The oceanographic research ship equipped with an underwater robot that found Olivia has been looking for the bodies of Anna and Tomás unsuccessfully.

According to court documents, by murdering their daughters and deliberately dumping the bodies into the sea in a point far off the coast, Tomás was seeking “to create uncertainty as to the destination of his daughters by hiding their bodies in places… where he thought that they would never be found”, and in this way “cause [Beatriz] the greatest pain imaginable.”

The disappearance of Olivia and Anna has shocked Spanish society, prompting nationwide rallies. Equality Minister Irene Montero said on Twitter: “This violence committed against women who are mothers to hit them where it hurts the most is a national issue. We are here to do whatever is necessary.” Montero used the term “vicarious violence”, also included in the Child Protection Law —known as Ley Rhodes— which will come into force on 24 June to protect children affected by gender violence, and which suspends contact rights in the event of domestic violence and a protection order has been issued.

The uptick in gender-based violence has urged the Equality Ministry to revise existing protocols and find ways to reinforce them, alongside regional governments and several organizations. One of the proposals being studied is the so-called “Formulario Cero”, a tool that will allow relatives of the victim to contact the police and trigger surveillance measures without waiting for the victim to do so.

Despite the alarming data, the far-right party Vox, the third-largest force in the Spanish Congress, won’t give up its quest to refute gender violence. At the heart of their argument is a truism: “there are also men who suffer violence from women and are killed by their wives.” What they purposely fail to notice is that in 2020, 99.6% of people prosecuted and sentenced for gender-based violence were men, according to data provided by the Courts for Violence Against Women, established by the 2004 Gender-Based Violence Law, the first of its kind in Europe. In 2019, 56 women were killed by their partners or ex-partners as opposed to nine men.

Dearexpat, is aimed at English-speaking readers who have been living in Spain for long enough to be interested in the country’s current affairs, with a focus on politics, the economy, society, and culture. In fact, anyone, anywhere with a keen interest in Spain might find it helpful. Since we are usually overwhelmed by an endless outpouring of news, this newsletter will be published on Fridays to provide readers with an overview of the most noteworthy events taking place during the week.

Get up to date with what is going on in Spain in just one go.
Sign up to Dearexpat,

Over the past 30 days, 12 women have died at the hands of their partners or ex-partners, five within the space of a week. To understand the magnitude of the figure, eight women were killed during the first four months of the year.

Among the recent victims are María Teresa Alaro, 48, shot by her soon-to-be ex-husband with a hunting rifle in Asturias; Rocío Caíz, 17, killed and dismembered by her 23-year-old former boyfriend in Seville shortly after she had given birth; Elena Livigni, 21, thrown out a balcony by his 26-year-old boyfriend in a hotel in Ibiza; Lucía Dotto, 42, the director of a luxury hotel chain based in Spain and Portugal, and Warda Ouchane, 28, stabbed to death in Tarragona by her partner, who also killed Mohammed, their seven-year-old son. The latest victim, Consuelo, 81, died two days ago after being hit by her husband with a hammer.

This the grimmest month since the Spanish government started recording gender-based violence murders in 2003. A total of 1,098 women have been killed since. Data gathered by Spain’s Observatory against Domestic and Gender Violence also reveals that 40 minors have been murdered and 311 have been left orphans since 2013.

Just last week, after 44 days of searching, the body of six-year-old Olivia was found inside a sports bag, weighed down with an anchor at a depth of a thousand meters off the coast of Tenerife. On 27 April, her father, Tomás Gimeno, had picked up Olivia and her one-year-old sister, Anna, from the home of Beatriz Zimmerman, his ex-wife. Later that afternoon, he phoned Beatriz to tell her that she would never see her daughters again. The oceanographic research ship equipped with an underwater robot that found Olivia has been looking for the bodies of Anna and Tomás unsuccessfully.

According to court documents, by murdering their daughters and deliberately dumping the bodies into the sea in a point far off the coast, Tomás was seeking “to create uncertainty as to the destination of his daughters by hiding their bodies in places… where he thought that they would never be found”, and in this way “cause [Beatriz] the greatest pain imaginable.”

The disappearance of Olivia and Anna has shocked Spanish society, prompting nationwide rallies. Equality Minister Irene Montero said on Twitter: “This violence committed against women who are mothers to hit them where it hurts the most is a national issue. We are here to do whatever is necessary.” Montero used the term “vicarious violence”, also included in the Child Protection Law —known as Ley Rhodes— which will come into force on 24 June to protect children affected by gender violence, and which suspends contact rights in the event of domestic violence and a protection order has been issued.

The uptick in gender-based violence has urged the Equality Ministry to revise existing protocols and find ways to reinforce them, alongside regional governments and several organizations. One of the proposals being studied is the so-called “Formulario Cero”, a tool that will allow relatives of the victim to contact the police and trigger surveillance measures without waiting for the victim to do so.

Despite the alarming data, the far-right party Vox, the third-largest force in the Spanish Congress, won’t give up its quest to refute gender violence. At the heart of their argument is a truism: “there are also men who suffer violence from women and are killed by their wives.” What they purposely fail to notice is that in 2020, 99.6% of people prosecuted and sentenced for gender-based violence were men, according to data provided by the Courts for Violence Against Women, established by the 2004 Gender-Based Violence Law, the first of its kind in Europe. In 2019, 56 women were killed by their partners or ex-partners as opposed to nine men.

Dearexpat, is aimed at English-speaking readers who have been living in Spain for long enough to be interested in the country’s current affairs, with a focus on politics, the economy, society, and culture. In fact, anyone, anywhere with a keen interest in Spain might find it helpful. Since we are usually overwhelmed by an endless outpouring of news, this newsletter will be published every Friday to provide readers with an overview of the most noteworthy events taking place during the previous week.

Get up to date with what is going on in Spain in just one go. Sign up to Dearexpat,

Dearexpat, is aimed at English-speaking readers who have been living in Spain for long enough to be interested in the country’s current affairs, with a focus on politics, the economy, society, and culture. In fact, anyone, anywhere with a keen interest in Spain might find it helpful. Since we are usually overwhelmed by an endless outpouring of news, this newsletter will be published every Friday to provide readers with an overview of the most noteworthy events taking place during the previous week.

Get up to date with what is going on in Spain in just one go. Sign up to Dearexpat,