The WOMEN of #VeLaLuz Association reveal through a new HUNGER STRIKE the dark situation of victims of violence against women and sexual abuses in Spain

Legal reprisals for the questioning of justice; vulnerability of minors towards their aggressors; social and media normalisation of impunity; corruption and profit around the business of gender based violence. These are the causes of the #YoNoTrago (“I don’t swallow”) action that 8 victims of gender violence and “institutional” violence will start carrying out on the 9th December at 9am in Galicia (Spain).

A  group of 8 Galician women, victims of gender violence and battering, will go on a hunger strike for the second time [1]. They will start on the 9th December at 9am, again in a humble property located in the  number 5 of Eusebio da Guarda Street (A Coruña). They claim to be  victims of a double violence: on the one hand, of the brutal aggressions they were submitted to by their ex-partners; and, on the other hand, of  the cold helplessness, or even the snubs and the corrupt practices, of  the institutions that were supposedly created to protect them.

It is  simply the “subjugation to brutality”, which affects not only them but  all the women in a country where, as they state: “no one seems to be willing or able to fullfil his/her functions”.

In order to understand the relevance of this information, it is important  in the first place to highlight the milestone that those women from the Ve-La-Luz Association seemed to have market with their first hunger strike (that finished on November the 14th), since they made the Galician Parliament commit to the creation of a Committee of Inquiry on the actual situation of women and minors who are suffering from gender-based violence and sexual abuses in the region of Galicia [2]. It is nonetheless important to highlight that this first victory was really  soon cruelly turned against them. As they soon began to see signs from the institutions of abusers’ and aggressors’ impunity, which far from having been severely undermined, it is now going to be reinforced, starting with the dismissal of these women’s cases.

They are tired of being constantly “looked down on by judges and public representatives”, as well as of the mass media not giving them a voice or not clearly explaining the causes for their desperate fight. That is why they are trying hard to clarify (and even number) the reasons that push them to make the dramatic decision of once again stopping to eat.

Firstly, they protest against the reprisals they are suffering as a consequence of their public complaint, which leaves them unprotected before the aggressors.

On Tuesday 27th of November, two days after the “International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women”, Section 1 of Galicia Provincial Court notified them all at the same time with the decision of dismissing “on the grounds of lack of evidence” the case of five out of  the ten women who took part in a home-made video[3] that denounced the irregular actions of the public prosecutor’s office in the Court for  Violence against women in A Coruña (Galicia). The high rate of dismissed complaints in that Court (around the 31% of the total) is an example of those irregular actions. As a result, there is lack of trust in the institutions by the victims, which often leads to them not to filing a complaint.

Faced with this measure, which the women of #VelaLuz understand as a clear reprisal, they decided to restart their enclosure to once again denounce the “institutional crime and the double abuse of stigmatization” of which, as they say, they are “only an example”. They affirm that these  sort of reprisals, or similar, or worse, are what a growing number of women in Spain are faced with when they dare to break the silence and denounce what has happened to them directly, as Ve-la-luz women did through their video.

Secondly, they denounce the vulnerability that minors face in Spain towards their alleged aggressors. It is for this reason that they have chosen the 9th December[4] at 9 am to start their hunger strike, as it is on this same day that another minor will possibly be returned because of a court decision to the alleged abuser that stole her childhood. Through this, they aim to stop what they describe as “an unbearable complicity with abusers”; and at the same time they want to avoid any more concealment  of such cases which they qualify as an “abhorrent normality” that is occurring in the whole country [5].

Thirdly, the women of #VelaLuz also denounce through their hunger strike the  social and media normalization of the impunity of battering and sexual abuse. This impunity has become explicit in the last days with cases such as the releasing of the murderer of Fabiola Mariana da Silva, or  the scandal of the reiterated media appearances of a convicted sexual abuser who can afford the luxury of announcing the opening of a Night Leisure macro centre in La Coruña, promoted by the Larry Smith business  group, despite the fact that he declared himself bankrupt [6] before the courts.

Last  but not least, they denounce the scandal of the “Business of Gender-based Violence”, which is another, even more outrageous, episode  of the omnipresent corruption in Spain. In this case the corruption  materializes through: the diversion or disappearance of budget  allocations for the protection of women, most of the resources go to advertising campaigns [7] to mask the reality; or, perhaps the most  flagrant of all subjects, the so called “family meeting points” directly granted by those in power to their “friends” and which have been  described by the victims as “infernal places”[8] or as “points of abuse silencing”.

More information:

[1] News explaining the reasons for the hunger strike started by the women of Ve-La-Luz Association on October the 14th.

[2] See the following news on this issue:
Published in ABC.es  http://goo.gl/XelI5u
Published in EL PROGRESO  http://goo.gl/huPGBu
Published in EL DIARIO.ES   http://goo.gl/lwU7pR

[3]  See the video denouncing the judicial behaviour:  http://goo.gl/xtQvDq

[4]  This is the planned date of the judicial hearing to decide on whether  to remove a mothers’ custody of her child because she refuses to respect  the visiting regime dictated by another sentence which did not take  into consideration her denouncement of abuses she had suffered by the  father of the child, despite being backed by various hospital reports.  Therefore the women of #VeLaLuz have chosen this date and time to begin  their hunger strike.

[5]  The case is so scandalous that even the Brasilian Consul in Spain is  worried, and his presence is expected in the judicial meeting.

[6]  This complaint reffers to a person whose initials correspond to M.L, who is presented in a news article published by Isabel Señor in the “Society” section of “Mundiario.com” as “the artifice of a new model of  Business and management of leisure in La Coruña”(http://goo.gl/5Z8wjp), despite from having been declared bankrupt, according to the victims of  the Ve-la-luz Association after having been impeached with a conviction  of two years and half jail time and an 8.000€ fine that has to be paid to the victims of his “intimate touching” http://goo.gl/jKAYWR according to the published information of A.B. A Coruña the 25th February 2013, at 02:00h in “Elidealgallego.com”.

[7]  Consists on encouraging women to denounce, under the slogan “Exits are  possible” without warning them of the grave consequences they will face  in the most likely case that their complaints end up dismissed or  archived and the aggressor stays free. The scandalous number of archives  and dismissals, plus the social stigma women face when they denounce,  and which is favoured by the myth of false complaints, fostered and  propagated periodically by specific social agents.

[8]  In Spain very little money has been spent on the actual protection of  women, but a lot on other sorts of things, for instance on parallel  businesses such as are the so called “Family Meeting Points” or on  advertising. There is also budgetary inflation for the Refuge Houses  that to not give services to a great number of victims. The money that  is actually spent on protecting women or forming specialized courts  should be compared to the money spent on advertising or parallel  businesses.
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5 pensamientos en “The WOMEN of #VeLaLuz Association reveal through a new HUNGER STRIKE the dark situation of victims of violence against women and sexual abuses in Spain

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