November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Its objective is to create awareness of the gravity of the problem and promote actions to end it. The 2019 campaign theme is Orange the World: #Generation Equality Stands against Rape! The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence run until tomorrow, Human Rights Day. This is an annual international campaign to call for the prevention and elimination of gender violence,

Now is the time to listen to Mexico’s cry for justice. Our country is facing big challenges regarding the elimination of gender violence. The INEGI states that 66.1% of women have suffered some type of aggression at least once in their lives. The abuse, harassment, abduction, bullying, intimidation, aggression, mistreatment, blackmail, deprivation, discrimination, and murder must come to an end. It’s inconceivable that, on average, there are nine femicides a day.

It’s equally serious that of the total women who have suffered violence, only 9.4% press charges and 2.2% seek help from an institution. This means that the vast majority of cases of violence against women go unnoticed and unpunished. This reflects a gap in the justice system. Public policy has failed to address this problem and inefficient institutions have fallen short in resolving gender violence cases.

Although gender violence reflects a power imbalance between men and women, it is not normal. There is a tendency to normalize it; even victims occasionally don’t identify certain behaviors as violent because they are common and acceptable. These attitudes are entrenched in a culture that has been dominated by a masculine mindset for ages. The first step to establish effective solutions is to accept that it is a systemic problem.

We all have a right to live free from violence. We must guarantee respect for human rights, regardless of gender, race, or social status. It’s difficult but not impossible; I can imagine a future free from gender violence.

It’s important to pay attention to daily attitudes that perpetuate destructive behaviors. Join the campaign, paint your heart orange all year long, become aware of the problem, but also carry out specific actions that contribute to eliminating violence against women completely. It’s our cause!

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