Several thousand protesters take to the streets of Barcelona to condemn violence against women
Seven women have been murdered in Catalonia in 2021 as of October 31
A purple wave took over Barcelona’s Passeig de Gràcia to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
A massive rally with thousands of protesters called for an end to gender-based violence on Thursday. According to a recently published Catalan Mossos d’Esquadra police report, seven women have been murdered in Catalonia in the first ten months of 2021.
Women receiving police protection against gender violence increased by 37.8% between January 1 and the end of October 2021, the same report notes.
Mossos said that the rise was to be expected as last year the Covid-19 pandemic made it harder for women to file complaints, the head of the Victim Care and Monitoring Central Unit, Andrea Garcia explained.
"The pandemic marked 2020, making it more difficult for women to file complaints. Many violent situations went unnoticed, and that is why an increase in the numbers means a return to normality and, therefore, the confidence needed to ask the police for help," said Garcia. Police saw "more abuse reports" filed this year, as well as "higher risks."
Institutions send a strong message
On Thursday morning, representatives of several institutions gathered at the Catalan Government’s headquarters to acknowledge the "daily" fight of women to achieve a life "free of gender violence." Laia Serra, a lawyer and women's rights activist said women "cannot continue to allow women to live in fear, with our freedom at risk due to the threat of sexual violence that already should be absent from a democratic and free society."
The CCOO trade union also marked the day by asking for a "real and effective commitment from everyone to eliminate the violence that women suffer so future generations of women can live without fear in a safer, more free, and equal world."
Barcelona bar association’s female lawyers’ committee urged for additional protection of children as men can harm kids in order to psychologically hurt mothers. The statement comes months after a father killed his two-year-old son to "harm the mother,” in the words of the city's mayor, Ada Colau.
Attorneys have asked that this kind of crime also be considered gender-based violence, and note the "constant surge" in sexual aggressions and hate speech.
"Respect of victims" is crucial, as is working towards zero-tolerance masculinity, says the statement read by the lawyers.
Four types of gender violence
Catalan police distinguish four different kinds of gender-based violence: psychological, physical, online, and sexual.
Psychological violence accounts for 52% of all reports and includes harassment and, most commonly, threats.
Physical violence, 40.4% of all complaints filed, includes attempted homicide and causing different kinds of physical injuries.
Meanwhile, online violence accounts for 4.1% of all reports followed by sexual violence: 3.5%.