Alleged abuses revive petition for a gender violence law in Cuba

Alleged abuses revive petition for a gender violence law in Cuba

(EFE) .- The public denunciation of five Cuban women for the alleged sexual abuse of a singer-songwriter has once again fueled the debate in the country regarding the need for a specific law on gender violence, an old demand by independent activists.

The independent magazine The sneeze brought the matter back to the fore by posting this week a report with testimonies of five young people who accused the musician Fernando Bécquer for different episodes of sexual abuse between 2002 and 2012.

The text Five complaints of sexual abuse against Fernando Bécquer it relates in great detail and in the first person the facts. The singer-songwriter, meanwhile, has denied those accusations and has described them as “slander.” “I don’t believe anything, I believe in the Revolution,” he assured at the end of a concert in Havana, according to independent media.

The author of the report, Mario Luis Reyes, affirmed that the matter is not resolved with debates on social networks, but highlighted the need for the role of feminist activism to raise awareness

The reactions, mostly in social networks, range from the change of profile photo with the slogan “YoSíTeCreo” in support of these women, criticism for minimizing their story and even the support of other musicians for Bécquer who point to an attempt to ” defamation”.

The author of the report, Mario Luis Reyes, affirmed that the matter is not resolved with debates on social networks, but highlighted the need for the role of feminist activism to raise awareness and advocated having adequate legal frameworks that punish this type of behavior.

Other users even allude to political nuances and “campaigns against Cuba” for being published in this independent medium, and therefore illegal, and highly critical of the Government.

The independent collective Alas Tensas condemned on Twitter “the complicit attitudes and misogynistic pronouncements in this regard”, while the group Yo Sí Te Creo Cuba stated that this case “puts at the center of Cuban society the urgency of updating and preparing the new generations on consent, prevention of sexual abuse and creating protective barriers in childhood from an early age “.

The Official Gazette Granma published today an article that presents several of the strategies that guarantee “a comprehensive and integrated response for the prevention and effective care of gender violence.”

In 2019, a group of 40 women asked the National Assembly of People’s Power of Cuba to draft a comprehensive law against gender violence, a country in which four out of ten women admit to having suffered abuse.

The signatories argued that this regulation would comply with Article 43 of the new Cuban Constitution, which indicates the duty of the State to protect women from “gender violence in any of its manifestations and spaces” and create “institutional and legal mechanisms for it”.

“Hence the need to enhance the improvement of legal mechanisms and public policies, so that there is no impunity and the highest protection is provided to the victims.”

They denounced the Parliament that the Cuban Penal Code “does not recognize gender violence as a specific crime and neither does femicide” and that “the predominant conception in institutional norms and approaches is that of domestic or intrafamily violence.”

That request was paralyzed by the official response that there are already regulations that address this problem.

In an interview in January this year with the official newspaper Granma, the vice president of the National Union of Cuban Jurists and of the Cuban Society of Civil and Family Law, Yamila González, recognized that “outside of the cases where its scope requires treatment in criminal proceedings, family violence does not usually generate today, in Cuba, some palpable legal consequence. “

“Hence the need to enhance the improvement of legal mechanisms and public policies, so that there is no impunity and the highest protection is provided to the victims,” ​​he added.

The secretary of the official Federation of Cuban Women (FMC), Teresa Amerelle, however, pointed out this March at a press conference that “work is being done to have a gender law at some point,” and noted that there are legal instruments that recognize gender violence by the State.

The most recent official statistics on gender violence and femicides (a fact that is not classified as a crime in the Cuban Penal Code) date from 2016

He also announced the creation of a Gender Observatory to include updated records of femicides and other expressions of sexist violence, events on which until now there is no public statistical information system.

Amarelle, who directs that official organization with some four million members, also mentioned the National Program for the Advancement of Women, an initiative of 45 measures to respond to specific challenges for women not yet resolved, such as economic empowerment, education and prevention to avoid violent acts and increased disclosure in the media.

The most recent official statistics on gender violence and femicides (a fact that is not classified as a crime in the Cuban Penal Code) date from 2016.
They state that 26.7% of women between 15 and 74 years of age suffered some type of violence in their partner relationship in the 12 months prior to the study.

Only 3.7% of the Cuban women who reported suffering aggressions in their relationships requested institutional help, according to the National Survey of Gender Equality carried out at that time and which included 10,698 women.

That same data is included in a national report sent in 2019 to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

The institutional vacuum in terms of statistics on gender violence has been covered in the last two years by independent civil society groups that publish updated figures and have warned about the increase in violent deaths of women in recent years.

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