News Latin America “Women in Bogota are more insecure at home than on the street”

“Women in Bogota are more insecure at home than on the street”

A group of women rescues the victims of sexist violence in Bogota. They do it every day, by phone, from a room overlooking the hills in the center of the city. Rubi, who prefers that her real name not be said, is one of the voices that answers on the other side of the Purple Line. ”Many do not know that they are being victims of a crime. There is a huge lack of awareness about what their rights are,” she says. She is one of the lawyers who, along with psychologists, social workers and nurses. they answer calls from women who are in danger. Between January and July, there were more than 15,000. “Some just need to be heard,” she notes. Others need immediate intervention because their lives are at risk. They help them flee from the aggressor, who in most cases are their partners, and they welcome them in refuge centers. More than 500 people, including women and children, live in these spaces.

Diana Rodriguez, Secretary for Women in Bogota, recognizes the challenge of leading this office in a violent city with women like this one. “The great threat to all is that women’s bodies and women’s lives are still thought to be someone else’s territory. In 70% of cases of domestic violence and in 80% of sexual crimes, the victims are women”, says Rodriguez. In Bogota, six out of ten crimes related to physical violence have a woman as a victim. Until last June, 46 were reported to have been murdered. The most recent victim, whose case has not yet been counted in the statistics, was Fabiola Garzon, shot to death at the end of August. She was 52 years old and was the victim of her partner. A couple of weeks earlier, the press reported the murder of a homeless woman, who was stabbed to death by the man with whom she shared a shack. In June, the victim was Ana Delfina Barrera, 48, murdered in front of her children, ages 11 and 5. That same month, the dismembered body of Adriana Pinzon, 42, was found distributed in four industrial plastic bags, 20 days after her family had reported her missing. Last year, the city closed with at least 79 femicides.

Sexist violence, when it does not kill, causes irreparable damage. According to the Observatory of women and gender equity in Bogota, up to June 1,500 women had suffered some type of sexual abuse. “These crimes should concern us as other crimes concern us, such as cell phone or bicycle theft,” says Rodriguez, who acknowledges that the statistics do not reflect reality. “There is a dark figure in violence. Especially in the family. In two years, 404,000 cases are reported. When you ask, were you a victim of violence? They say yes, however, there are only 60,000 complaints. We must stop telling women ‘that’s not so serious’, because if an act of violence is tolerated it will happen again once and it will be worse. Femicides can be prevented,” says Rodriguez.

In Colombia it is still difficult to recognize when there is a case of femicide, a crime typified by law since 2015. The media continues to speak of crimes of passion and justice takes time to identify when a woman is killed for being one. “Femicide is reported fatal,” acknowledges the official, for whom despite the perception of insecurity in the city, especially for women, the danger is not outside. “The reality of Bogota is that the main violence against women is in their homes, by acquaintances, and not on the street,” says Rodriguez. “Unfortunately, not all women want to go home, especially the younger ones. There is a problem of domestic and cultural violence that we have to dismantle”.

The purple line is part of a strategy that has been a model in the region. In 2020, Bogota was the pioneer city in Latin America to implement a District Care System to recognize and reduce care work. “In Bogota there are more than a million women, 30% of this population, who are dedicated to unpaid care, with an average of ten hours a day of work. There is an overload that is not being recognized”, claims the official. “If it is announced that there is a new policy to improve mobility, you don’t have to explain why, but if it is about care you have to go back, start by explaining what care is.”

For two years, the Secretariat for Women has been promoting the project care apples who seek relief burdens women who spend their time caring for others. In spaces with a radius of no more than 800 meters, women have access to some type of training or entertainment while their children or a sick grandfather in their care are cared for by others. Some have been able to finish high school or learn to ride a bicycle or do any activity that they had not been able to due to lack of time. “Women were not born saying ‘we are the ones who know how to take care’. You learn to care and it’s not just up to us,” says Rodriguez.

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Source: EL PAIS

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