A new law demanding harsher punishment for violent crimes against women was introduced in Colombia’s Congress Wednesday.
The severe penalties of the “Rosa Elvira” law will condemn violators of feminicide, a political term for misogynist violence against women that results in death, to 33 to 50 years of prison. Public officials or members of the army will receive harsher penalties.
The “Rosa Elvira” law was proposed by Senator Gloria Ines Ramirez in response to the brutal violation and death of Rosa Elvira Cely and aimed to prevent the reoccurrence of cases such as Elvira’s.
Elvira, a 35-year-old single mother who sold sweets on the street to support her children, was found semi-nude and on the verge of death in Bogota’s National Park early morning on May 24. Investigations showed she had been violently beaten, raped, stabbed and nearly suffocated. Elvira died in the hospital four days after being found, her death declared a case of feminicide.
Elvira’s case sparked sizeable protests in Bogota. The Sunday immediately following her passing hundreds of people took to the streets of the Colombian capital to condemn violence against women and promote female rights.
This was not the first public demonstration in regards to the treatment of women. Men and women alike came together on International Women’s Day to demand gender equality and an end to gender-based violence and discrimination.
In the past year, there have allegedly been 1,440 cases of homicide against women, 125 of which were defined as feminicide, including the killing of Elvira.
For the perpetrator in Elvira’s case, Javier Velasco, prosecutors have asked for the maximum penalty of 60 years in prison, as a step towards enacting the “Rosa Elvira” legislation.
“It has to be the maximum sentence possible because we need to send a clear message to Colombian society that they must respect women,” said prosecutor Jorge Bustos Hurtado.