Gender violence


Alba M. Ojeda, a 62-year-old resident in La Conchita, a neighborhood in Matanzas province, around 100 kilometers east of the capital city, never imagined that her husband could try to kill her with a machete.

«We never argued. I only knew he was not happy with my job as a coastguard because of my night duty service,» she recalled.

«Right after his aggression, my neighbors took me to a hospital. I spent two months at an intensive care unit,» she indicated.

He was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment, but left her disabled, with two children to look after.

Her daughter has had to take care of her on a permanent basis because she cannot cope on her own and receives no pension whatsoever.

«Rural areas have social structures and cultural traditions that are completely different from urban areas,» said Jeanette García, a psychologist who manages a training program at the Christian Reflection and Dialogue Center (CCRD-C) in Cárdenas, Matanzas, 150 kilometers away from Havana.

Yuliuva Hernández, a sociology professor at the University of Holguín, 740 kilometers east of Havana, shares her view.

«In Calabazas de Sagua de Tánamo, Yamanigüey, and Pueblo Nuevo de Centeno, there have often been public acts of violence against women, including physical punishment,» she indicated.

«Local miners, farmers and fishermen identify masculinity with violence-related patriarchal traditions,» she regretted.

«Women are expected to be only housewives and/or caregivers,» García added.

«Gender violence affects all women, regardless of their status, race, etc.,» she noted.

«They usually decide not to report their cases to the police,» she stressed.

Dr. Xiomara Ruiz highlighted the need to further raise awareness about this problem.

«Many couples are living under violent conditions,» she remarked.

When asked why abused women decide to keep silent, García replied that, unfortunately, there are no support networks in place.

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