The Dominican Republic’s cardinal has denounced the “international scandal” of violence against women in his Caribbean nation, better known for sunshine and sandy beaches.
Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez made his views known to President Leonel Fernandez during a two-hour meeting as the president approached the end of his term of office.
In the island nation of only 10 million people, more than 1000 women have been killed in the past five years — an average of more than one every two days.
In the majority of cases, the perpetrators were intimate partners of the victims.
Of the 62,000 cases of violence against women reported in 2010, only 4 per cent went to trial. The cases ranged from extreme sexual violence involving young girls to women being stabbed to death.
Cardinal López Rodríguez, accompanied by Archbishop Ramon de la Rosa y Carpio, of Santiago de los Caballeros, told the outgoing president there should be a review of social structures and exemplary punishment for offenders.
He attributed the problem of violence against women to such factors as lack of education and “machismo”. A by-word for ultra-masculinity, machismo has come to be regarded as a natural attribute of “tough men” who often dominate women with unprovoked aggression and violence as a way of life.
For the majority of women, escape can be very difficult. The dependence of many on male partners for financial and emotional support often means they continue to suffer in silence. Those who dare to speak out often face the spectre of being left on their own, risking further backlash and reprisals.
Image: Al Jazeera
News category: World.