Violence, a challenge

«While progress towards family and gender violence prevention and control has been made in the last few years, gaps and challenges remain,» said Marisol Alfonso, an officer of the United Nations Population Fund in Cuba.

«The problem is being made visible, and several social networks and institutions are highlighting the need for treatment,» she added.
«The National Association of Cuban Jurists, for example, incorporated gender violence into its training actions,» she stressed.

«The Federation of Cuban Women (FMC), a four million member organization, has for 15 years provided follow-up to cases through the National Group on Family Violence Prevention and Treatment, and more recently through the community-based Family Guidance Centers,» she indicated.

«The National Sex Education Center (CENESEX) is addressing this issue from an intersectorial perspective under the National Sex Education and Health Program (PRONESS),» she remarked.

«There is now better social understanding of physical and psychological violence,» said Beatriz Torres, president of the Cuban Society for Multidisciplinary Sexuality Studies (SOCUMES), at a digital debate organized by SEMlac.

«We have promoted studies over subtle forms of violence against men, women, homosexuals and transgender people,» she emphasized.

«Current gaps have to do with a lack of information on legal aspects, including rights and obligations regarding violence cases,» stressed Olga L. Revilla, a comprehensive general medicine specialist.

There is no law specifically dealing with gender and family violence in Cuba, and victims are expected to report their cases to the police.

A local study along these lines, which was conducted between August 1998 and August 1999 in La Palma, a municipality in the westernmost province of Pinar del Río, had revealed that, out of 83 women who reported their cases to the police, 71 percent withdrew their accusations and fell again into the cycle of violence.

Over 87 percent had been previously involved in acts of violence, it also showed.

Cuban legal provisions cover threats, injuries, murder, homicide, rape, and pimping, among other crimes.

«There is an imperative need to promote further coordination between and among relevant institutions, and provide victims with comprehensive support services,» said psychologist Beatriz Torres.

«Synergies play a critical role in this connection,» Alfonso stressed.

«It is equally important to convey appropriate messages over the media,» she added.

«A national, large-scale study on violence in Cuba will help come up with effective prevention and treatment actions,» she concluded.

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