The risk of women experiencing violence within their homes increases with preventive isolation. Faced with this situation, neighbors, friends or family have a fundamental role so that they do not feel alone and can ask for help.

Mercedes lives in Núñez and on March 22, two days after the national government declared quarantine,

He called 911 for the first time in his life.

It was eleven o’clock in the morning and he began to hear loud arguments, runs and bangs of things breaking.

She was not the only one in the quiet part of the building who came out onto the balcony to see what was happening and where the screams of a man were coming from.

Among the neighbors they figured out that something was happening on the ninth floor, and she contacted the police, who arrived immediately. Another neighbor went down to open them and accompanied them to the apartment where the noise came from.

The assaulted woman did not want to make the complaint.

So far in April, several similar cases have been made public, such as the

a man in Villa Gesell who had his wife immobilized on the floor and threatened her with a hammer

when the police entered after receiving an anonymous complaint about a fight; or the fact of domestic violence in which a 20-year-old girl in the city of Neuquén

He handed a paper to a neighbor to ask for help between the bars of his house

after her partner, a 25-year-old woman, attacked her and asked her to call 148, the line that handles cases of violence in that province.

All these events, and surely many more, have in common the presence of the other, especially the neighbors who today are the closest ties, and see, hear or perceive that something is happening.

Reporting gender violence in itself is difficult and in this context

of tension, uncertainty and confinement, consequence of the pandemic by COVID-19,

Much more

. For many women, at this very moment, the most insecure place in the world is their home. So,

Despite the fact that the complaint channels were expanded, many of them still cannot ask for help and the watchful eye of the others becomes essential.

Engaging with violence implies leaving behind the thought that what happens inside an apartment or a house is a private matter. It should be clear that

neither the screaming, nor the crying, nor the blows belong to the plane of intimacy

. “A first barrier that must be crossed is this: it is not my problem, they get along like this,” says Raquel Asensio, coordinator of the Gender Issues Commission of the National Ombudsman’s Office.

A first barrier to cross is this: it is not my problem, they get along like this

Raquel Asensio, Office of the Ombudsman

Eloquent figures

The data supports it:

299 femicides were registered last year, of which 52% were committed within the victims’ home,

according to a report from La Casa del Encuentro.

And so far in the quarantine, there have already been 15 femicides in the country.

According to global indicators and some Argentine provinces,

Not only did violence against women increase, but asking for help also became a risk.

The assailant is next door 24 hours, within the same four walls. “Isolation is a determining factor, a trigger that increases the risk of violence that was already present or latent in this family group or personal bond, and at the same time it is an obstacle to looking for alternatives to escape,” says Asensio.

Therefore, the Ministry of Women, Gender and Diversity enabled,

in addition to the 144 telephone line, three WhatsApp numbers and an email for all victims who cannot make a call.

The Ministry of Justice and Human Rights also did the same with the

line 137, which belongs to the Victims Against Violence Program.

Minister Elizabeth Gómez Alcorta announced the measure that establishes that

all women and any member of the LGTBQ + community can break the social, preventive and compulsory isolation to go alone or with their sons and daughters to make a complaint for acts of gender violence

; and

automatically renewed all protection measures

(perimeters, home exclusions and alert devices).

You are not alone

From the beginning of the quarantine, there were several campaigns that dealt with this urgent issue, such as

the red chinstrap initiative, promoted by the Argentine Pharmaceutical Confederation

, which originated in Río Negro and was inspired by a similar action that took place in Spain.

How does it work? If a woman asks for a “red chinstrap” at a pharmacy or on the phone, employees should take her information and call 144.

Other campaigns point to the importance of environmental intervention, in order to make the victim feel that she is not alone, both so that she knows it and can act, as her victimizer and feel intimidated or “watched” despite the confinement. The Ombudsman’s Office proposed the hashtag # NoEstásSola and the

Avon Foundation

, who had been working on the subject for a long time through the concept of “Being close”, reinforced the idea that it is necessary to intervene through the slogan #IsolatedNoSolas.

The objective is that the physical isolation that we are experiencing does not become social isolation, that contact with ties continues and if necessary that it intensify.

Florencia Yanuzzio, executive director, emphasizes that in addition to actions such as active listening, respecting the times and decisions of the victim, believing her, being always, not getting angry and communicating with her on a daily basis, in times of isolation, it is essential that accompaniment be virtual, through WhatsApp or social networks; and that certain strategies be determined with the links, as a simple key, to act before a fact without warning the aggressor, which can increase the risk of violence.

For example,

If a woman sends a message to a neighbor saying “I need sugar”, an emoji or just her geolocation, it indicates that she is asking for help

and the person who receives it must act immediately.

At the beginning of the isolation, the complaints dropped dramatically in the city of Buenos Aires. On the contrary, in the province of Buenos Aires and others such as Córdoba, calls increased not only from victims but from friends or family. Asensio believes that this may be due to difficulties in seeking alternatives or ignorance, because those who denounce may think “then what later”, “they can equally exclude the aggressor if he cannot leave the house” or “if I leave here, where am I going or what am I doing. ” Nor is the quality of counseling the same as that offered by talking on the phone when the abuser is not present at home or being able to go to an office to seek help, or tell a coworker or talk about it with a mother on the way out. of the garden.

You have to tell him to keep his document, that of the boys, medicines and whatever he considers indispensable, stored in an already identified place. So you can get out quickly in a risky situation

Florencia Yanuzzio, Avon Foundation

In this context, not “raising the partridge” or leaving traces to avoid the risk of increased violence by the couple is something to keep in mind, specialists warn. So it is important to tell the woman that you live with a violent

to delete all records of messages sent with the cell phone, posts made on social networks and internet searches related to the request for help or advice.

“You also have to tell him to have his document, the boys’, medicines, and whatever he considers indispensable, stored in an already identified place. Because that way he can get out quickly in an imminent risk situation,” advises Yanuzzio.

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Publicado en el diario La Nación

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