Violence against women and girls in Colombia has seen a major increase in the first 10 months of 200 compared to the same period last year, according to the Medical Examiner’s Office.
The government agency released the alarming figures as part of the commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
The Medical Examiner’s Office said that so far this year the agency received almost 30,000 spousal abuse reports and almost 9,900 domestic abuse reports related to women and girls.
The agency’s medical personnel additionally conducted more than 18,700 rape tests, of which more than half had been requested for girls under 18 years old.
All three categories shows major increases compared to last year’s statistics on violence against women and girls.
Violence against women
The released statistics imply that a woman is abused by her partner every three minutes, and that every thirty seconds a girl or a woman suffers domestic abuse.
The medical tests carried out by physicians in response to rape reports suggest that the sharp increase in this form of violence is mainly affecting girls under 18.
More than 82% of the 18,702 rape tests between January and October were carried out on girls between 0 and 17 years old, according to the Medical Examiner’s Office.
Age of alleged rape victims in 2022
The Medical Examiner’s Office carried out 19,793 rape tests and received 30,436 reports from women alleging abuse from their partner in 2021 .
The agency last year additionally received 5,145 domestic abuse reports involving violence against girls and another 1,938 involving violence against women.
Ombudsman Carlos Camargo said that his office had registered 206 hate crimes committed against transgender women since the beginning of last year.
Between 2021 and 2022, we have accompanied and activated the institutional routes for the restoration of rights in 226 cases of violence due to prejudice, of which 206 were against transgender women.
Ombudsman Carlos Camargo
The women who didn’t survive misogynistic violence
The Inspector General’s Office said that it has registered more than 140 femicides so far this year.
Another 519 murders of women that were allegedly motivated by their sex are still under investigation.
More than 200 of these alleged femicides were committed in the capital Bogota, which historically has one of the lowest homicide rates of all Colombia’s major cities.
According to the the women’s organization of the United Nations, 993 women were murdered in Colombia in 2021. In 15% of these cases, the alleged killed was the victim’s partner.
Lawmakers calls for emergency response
Senator Maria Jose Pizarro, the president of the Women’s Equality Commission, called on the government to declare an emergency over the sharp increase in violence against women and girls.
Such a move would allow the government to allocate emergency funds for the prevention of violence against women and the effective prosecution of alleged abusers.
Pizarro and other lawmakers have put their weight about a campaign, “Let’s Walk Without Fear,” which seeks to inform women on gender violence and provide assistance in alleged cases of abuse.
Hopefully, the senator told newspaper El Espectador, the campaign “will allow all women to break the bonds of subjugation and be free to walk without fear.”
The recurring problem of impunity
What could be the biggest obstacle for women and their safety is the Prosecutor General’s Office, which is notoriously ineffective, particularly when it comes to violence against women.
In its annual report, the prosecution said in March that prosecutors in 198 pending femicide cases achieved a “96% clarification progress rate” between February 2021 and the same month this year.
This sounds more impressive as it is as prosecutors consider criminal cases “clarified” if they have a suspect. The report failed to mention a single conviction in any of these femicide cases.
Consequently, many female victims of abuse fail to report this to the authorities due to a lack of confidence in the prosecution and a fear that filing a criminal complaint could trigger possibly lethal relations from their victimizers.