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Are the punishments for domestic violence severe enough?

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The media has reported extensively on a worrying recent trend of women being set on fire by their male partners. But this is just a small part of a growing problem of domestic violence  in Argentina, which claimed the lives of 260 women last year. The Argentina Independent took to the streets to ask your opinions about why this country has seen an increase in violence against women, how it can prevent this trend from continuing, and whether the punishments for offenders are adequate.

Francisco Diz, 23, café manager, San Isidro

“There is almost no law in this country, by which I mean that the law is easy to break because it’s not enforced. Even if you commit murder or domestic violence, if you have contacts and know who to talk to, you can avoid prison. The only time the Justice gives adequate punishments is when a case receives public attention. I think domestic violence happens because this country still has many chauvinistic males. This type of violence is more prevalent amongst the lower classes, as is child abuse.”

Ana Solari, 29, lawyer, Ramos Mejia

“Domestic violence against women is happening globally, not just in Argentina. In this country there have recently been some well-known cases of setting women on fire. Domestic violence happens because of deeply ingrained psychological problems. Women sometimes stay in abusive relationships because they are very afraid and don’t know where to go to make a statement. I know there’s a special commissariat for women who are victims of this kind of mistreatment where they can go to report the crime.”

Gastón Torres, 28, sales assistant, Balvanera

“The situation is very bad in this country. I don’t know exactly how long sentences are but punishments are often not severe enough here. This is a third world country, after all. It’s right that women report these crimes when they happen. I think there should be more information available on where to report domestic abuse, a number to call maybe, as perhaps women don’t know. The idea of setting fire to a woman is terrible. People who commit this kind of abuse need psychological help rather than just a punishment.”

Juan Manuel Junquera, 65, foreign trade employee, Spain

“I’m totally against domestic violence. The trend of setting women on fire, like the case with the man from the band, is a shambles. I really don’t know what to say. Punishments should be much more severe. A fair sentence in my opinion would perhaps be twenty-five years in jail.”



Patricia Canda, 53, government employee, Balvanera

“There is a problem with domestic violence in this country. I believe that the situation is worse in the country’s interior and those cases are serious because the violence seems more culturally related. Argentina doesn’t have a problem that is as serious as in some countries like Spain. There have been many stories about women who have been set on fire and now we’re starting to pay attention to the problem. The police are not properly prepared to help women who’ve been threatened or abused. Five years in prisons seems like an adequate sentence to me.”

Photos by Joe Rondone

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- who has written 2069 posts on The Argentina Independent.


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