By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
Nearly one in three Mexicans believe that female victims of gender-based violence somehow provoked and are responsible for the situation that led to their attacks, according to a study by the University of the Valley of Mexico’s (UVM) Center for Public Opinion.
The study, which was the result of interviews conducted last February with adult members of more than 1,000 Mexican households from across the country, was released on Monday, Oct. 15, and showed that 9 percent of those asked said that victims of female gender-based violence were directly to blame for their injuries.
Another 23 percent said that they felt that females who suffered violence did so because “they allowed themselves to be victims.”
These two combined responses represented 32 percent of the answers given in the survey as to why women in Mexico suffer a disproportionate degree of violent attacks.
Mexico ranks among the most dangerous countries in the world for women, where organized crime and human trafficking are said to play a key role in a growing female death rate, although unrelated domestic violence and rape are also significant factors.
According to government figures, 44.9 percent of Mexican women have suffered some form of violence in their homes, with 25.8 percent reporting physical violence, 11.7 percent sexual violence, 56.4 percent economic violence and 89.2 percent emotional or psychological violence.
Mexican women are also frequently persecuted for their activism against femicide or because they are the victims of drug-related, frequently involving partners or relatives connected to the drug war or law enforcement officials.
According to the United Nations Women’s office, at least seven Mexican women are victims of gender-related killings every day.
And while there are now comprehensive laws on the books to protect women, prevailing criminal impunity and a lack of effective implementation have led to an even higher incidence of gender-related violence in recent years.
In the UVM study, 37 percent of those surveyed said that they had personally witnessed or had been involved in a violent act against a women in the last three months, and 42 percent said that they believed that most gender-based violence occurs in the home.