On November 25, 1960, the Mirabal sisters were murdered for facing the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic. After 40 years, the UN decreed this date as the International Day for the elimination of violence against women. Far from remaining in calendars and universities, 25N became a day of struggle to denounce and demand from governments and society specific measures to guarantee a life without violence for women.
By The IWL-FI Women’s Commission
Next November 25, women have nothing to celebrate. First, male chauvinism and violence, far from setting back, systematically increase, hurting more women. International agencies like the UN and the WHO state that 1 out of every 3 women in the world have suffered physical and/or sexual violence, and 60 thousand women die per year due to feminicide, around half of them by the hands of their own partners or a male in their family.
On the other hand, around 120 million women were victims of sexual abuse in some moment of their lives, a violent situation shared by women who live in rich and poor countries. Latin America presents the highest rate in sexual violence against women outside a relationship, and the second largest on behalf of the current partner or a previous one. This region, by the way, is the most violent in the world for women outside a war context, according to the UN.
However, this does not mean that in other parts of they are safe. In the European Union, half of the women have suffered some sort of sexual harassment since they were 15 years old, and even worse, 1 in every 3 Europeans thinks sexual assault is justified in some cases. In Central and Southern Africa, 40% of young women are married before 18 years of age and 14% before they reach 15 years. In 34 countries, marriage with the victim is a reason to forgive cases of sexual abuse against minors. As one may see, violence against women is endemic and shows that male chauvinism is enrooted in society and the world.
Violence of the System against Women
Physical and psychological aggressions, feminicides, rapes (including corrective rape of LGBTIs) and other forms of harassment; genital mutilation, forced marriages and people traffic for sexual exploitation are some of the most common types of violence against women. However, it is important to highlight that violence appears in many ways. For example, any conduct (action or omission) of discrimination, aggression or coercion caused by the mere fact that the victim is a woman, and that causes harm, death, shame, physical, sexual, moral, or psychological limitations, social, political or economic distress, or patrimonial loss, whether in the private or public space, is violence against women.
Equally, from all violence committed against women, the main one is the system itself. Decadent capitalism imposes growingly worse living conditions to the working class, and the degradation of human relations due to this system exist as a result of deepening of male chauvinism and violence, turning working women into their main victims. Bourgeois governments and politicians, far from reverting this situation, deepen it with their adjustment plans that attack social and labor rights. They generate unemployment and precarization, reducing the social expense, right flexibilization and privatization of services.
All workers have felt the effects of the economic crisis, but the consequences for working women are particularly cruel. The combination of oppression and exploitation places them in a situation of inequality in society, transforms them into the preferential objective of attacks, where poor, black and immigrant refugee women are the ones who suffer the most. The current humanitarian crisis and its consequences for refugees is the unalienable proof that decadent capitalism does not solve inequality between men and women, but deepens it.
Indifferent attitude on behalf of all governments, or bourgeois politicians (many of them even involved in violence and harassment scandals) to protect the rights of women and children cannot be seen as simple neglect. Their lack of political will and it being convenient is related to the fact that capitalism is benefited from violence and oppression to divide workers and submit them further to the exploitation of the entire class and the over exploitation of entire parts of it, like women. There is no clearer proof of this than the fact that although women rule (Dilma, Christina, Bachelet, Merkel), violence increases.
Social violence, the worst kind of violence, by the way, condemns working women and their children and families to hunger, sicknesses and poverty, but it is not denounced by the United Nations or by agencies of imperialism who are followers of statistics because it is precisely generated by the capitalist system they stand for and sustain. In this sense, the struggle against male chauvinistic violence, if it is not combined with the struggle against capitalist exploitation, is condemned to be defeated because it is functional for the system and it will never be taken seriously by those who possess power, whether men or women.
For the end of male chauvinistic violence and capitalist exploitation
However, this situation of violence against women has not passed in vain. On the contrary, it has generated enormous response and even served as an impetus for the entire working class to fight governments and their attacks. The streets are becoming the place to strengthen the cry of women against male chauvinism, violence and cut back of rights, turning it into the engine of new struggles.
It is essential to close ranks with this movement and push it. From the IWL-FI, we make a calling to the entire working class for next November 25 to march along women to demand the end of violence, male chauvinism and capitalist exploitation. Firmly understanding that to unite the class and set women in equal conditions, in the struggle against capitalist exploitation, all workers (women and men) need to stand decidedly against male chauvinist and violence.
Stop violence against women! The struggle against male chauvinism and all forms of oppression is a fight of the entire working class!