Legal gaps and gender violence

The fact that gender violence against women is not addressed in any legal document and that those in charge of such cases are inappropriately trained makes it impossible to effectively respond to this social problem in Cuba today, experts feel.

«Our Criminal Code does not include gender violence,» said Perla Delgado, a professor at the University of Cienfuegos’ School of Law, around 250 kilometers east of Havana.
Some specialists believe that there should be a specific law on these crimes, while others think that the gender approach should be applied to all pieces of legislation.

hese issues were discussed at a Cuban Meeting to Fight Violence against Women, which was held on November 25 – December 10. Aida Torralbas, a psychology professor at the University of Holguín, 685.

kilometers east of the capital city, told SEMlac that the causes of such behaviors are to be found in deeply rooted patriarchal traditions. In an article entitled The Cuban Criminal Code and Gender Violence, she stressed that legal standards clearly show predominant social values and ideologies in a society. «The list of crimes against women that are contained in the Code includes murder, injury, threats, rape, bigamy, and deprivation of liberty,» she recalled. «In the case of injury, the Code demands the submission of material evidence, something that is relevant only for physical violence,» she regretted. «In connection with threat, the fear that victims experience does not show how serious the threat actually is, Torralbas indicated. «Rapeis not strongly rejected by society when it involves husband and wife, «she noted. «There are no specialized services available to violence victims, particularly in key areas such as psychological support and legal guidance,» Delgado remarked. «Gender violence cases cannot be addressed only through law,» said Yamila González, a member of the Board of Directors at the National Association of Jurists of Cuba. She favors the idea of making sexist stereotypes visible, especial lyamong judges, lawyers, notaries, and other justice administrators.

Torralbas finds it important to provide further training to and raise awareness among legal staff members. Cuba: Nilda Iglesias implements environmentally friendly practices By Helen Hernández Santiago de Cuba, December (SEMlac). – Nilda Iglesias (48), a former mathematics professor at the University of Oriente, around 700 kilometers east of Havana, has become an agro-ecology and permaculture specialist to better support her family. When her husband died 12 years ago, she recalled whatever she had learnt from her Galician grandmother as to food conservation and turned it into her livelihood. While still teaching at the university in the early1990s, she would also work as a hairdresser, seamstress and craftswoman. In 2003, she became a professor again, this time to teach food conservation and nutrition at the Bartolomé G. Lavastida Christian Training Center (CCSC-BG Lavastida) in Santiago de Cuba. This institution has been promoting local development, food sovereignty, ecological practices, and the empowerment of vulnerable population groups at workshops. «Food conservation is critical when there are distinct seasons, as is the case in Cuba,» she emphasized. «I began working along these lines in 2010, when hurricane Sandy hit Santiago de Cuba and food prices went up, «she recalled. «I have always liked permaculture, that is, the environmentally friendly use of resources for food production and power generation,» she commented. She is currently growing lettuce, tomato, onion, pepper, sweet potato, black beans, cassava, peanut, avocado and lemon, and rearing pigs, turkeys, ducks, rabbits and birds. With the support of CCSC- BG Lavastida and Sweden’s DIAKONIA, she recently installed a bio-digester to transform animal feces into natural gas for cooking and built a dry toilet to use human wastes as fertilizers. «I have become a better human being and changed my lifestyle after so many training courses,» she told SEMlac. «We now go to the backyard and pick up fresh, organic products for cooking,» she added. Along with her mother and daughter, she does all the agricultural work. «I only ask a neighbor for help when we have to plow, weed or cut down a tree,» she remarked.

She supplies food crops to another 10 families and condiments and vegetables to over 60 people. «Math helps you open up your mind and better assess what you can and cannot do,» she stressed. She gets up at 5.00 a.m. every morning to water the parcel of land, attend to the animals, and get ready for class. She covers Center activities in the afternoons and provides training over the weekends. «Even my students have come here to help us sow,» she said. She now plans to complete her PhD course and build a well. «I try to incorporate gender issues into my food conservation workshops,» she emphasized. «It is never too late to learn, I always tell my daughter (who has just graduated as a psychologist) and even my little grand daughter,»she stressed. «I wish she (her granddaughter) could live in a clean world, breathing clean air. I hope she will be able to make her own decisions and strive for whatever she wants to achieve, just as I have, «she concluded.

Translated by Adolfo Fuentes

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