Spain denounces ‘dreadful’ spike in murders of women
Spain’s interior minister on Thursday denounced a “dreadful” surge in gender violence after nine women were killed in December, mainly by their partners, making it the deadliest month this year.
Among the victims was a 32-year-old pregnant woman stabbed to death, allegedly by her former partner, in front of their two teenage children on Wednesday night in the central town of Escalona.
She had been due to give birth within days, according to Spanish media reports.
Her death brings to 48 the number of women killed due to gender violence this year.
The total number of such killings now stands at 1,181 since the government started keeping a tally in 2003, said the government.
Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska said the “series of dreadful crimes we have suffered this month” was “deeply frustrating” and should serve as a “wake-up call”.
He urged people to report any suspected incidents of gender violence and said police across the country had been ordered to “step up” their vigilance.
“This is not a private issue as it was understood in the past,” he told journalists. “We cannot go back to that idea, it is a social tragedy that we have to face as a society.”
– ‘Stop this scourge’ –
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said Spain was “suffering a terrible rebound in cases of gender violence” this month.
“Ending gender violence involves all of us. It is essential to act together, as a society, to stop this scourge,” he added in a tweet.
Spanish politicians have tried a series of programmes to address domestic violence since a notorious case in 1997, the murder of 60-year-old Ana Orantes.
She was beaten, thrown over a balcony and then burned to death by her ex-husband after having repeatedly appealed to authorities for help because of his violent behaviour.
Spain’s parliament in 2004 overwhelmingly approved Europe’s first law specifically aimed at tackling gender-based violence.
The deadliest year on record for gender violence in Spain was 2008 with 76 deaths.