The majority of Colombia’s government officials believe that spousal abuse “should be solved in privacy” rather than by judicial authorities, a recent study showed.
When asked if they agreed with the statement that “what happens in privacy should be solved in privacy,” 54% of the polled government officials said they did, according to data from a study carried out by the Presidential Adviser on Equality for Women in 2014.
This is just one shocking statistic to come from the study, which highlights the discrepancy between the public officials’ opinion and the laws they are obligated to enforce.
While Colombian law prohibits legal conciliation efforts in the case of family violence, 64% of public officials believe is it better to attempt reconciliation between an abusive husband and his victimized wife.
Eleven percent agreed that a woman must forgive their partner’s abuse if he was drunk when it happened even though alcohol is not considered a mitigating circumstance under the law.
Further to this, a shocking 32% of the Colombian officials said that they simply “do not care” about stories of domestic abuse.
“The woman cannot complain”
A further finding of the study uncovered the alarming existence of the opinion that women in some instances are partly responsible for the violence carried out against her.
Almost a quarter of the state staff agreed that if a woman previously knew that their partner had violent tendencies, she cannot complain about what he does to her.
This suggests that the women in question have chosen to be in a position of abuse and therefore must accept it.
The same figure of 23% said that if a girl stays with her abuser following violence, it is because she enjoys the mistreatment.
The reality of the problem
These uncovered opinions indicate how law enforcement officials are compromised to curb the violent excesses of Colombia’s deep-rooted macho culture.
According to recently released figures, 38,000 cases of reported domestic violence were reported in 2014 alone.
More than 16,000 Colombian women were sexually abused in Colombia in the same year.
According to the Ombudsman’s Office, 75% of women have suffered psychological abuse, 50% have been victim to physical abuse and 11% have suffered economic violence.
The Medical Examiner’s Office released a more detailed report, showing that in 2014 1,106 women were murdered. This deadly violence against women continued in 2015 when 126 women were killed.
Colombia’s Constitutional Court reacted to the release of these figures by urging Congress to engage in relevant actions with the aim of decreasing the embedded stereotypes, earlier this month.
The Court exemplified their point through the case of a woman who had filed for divorce due to her suffering of recurring domestic violence. Her application was rejected though she provided photos and other legally adequate evidence.
The judges last year brought the topic to the table, stating that the “practices of the state staff hired to help victim women, were not worthy of their statuses.”
The Court previously denounced the government in 2008, criticizing once again time the lack of professionalism and sexist methods of the state staff.
SEGUNDA MEDICIÓN DEL ESTUDIO SOBRE TOLERANCIA SOCIAL E INSTITUCIONAL DE LAS VIOLENCIAS CONTRA LAS MUJERES (Presidencia de la Republica)