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When We Women Take to the Streets Patriarchy Trembles: On Spain’s First National March Against Violencias Machistas

More than 45 women have been murdered in Spain this year by their current or former partner or intimate family members, a figure which is met with inaction by the majority of its people and government. Therefore, Spanish women will take to the streets on 7 November for a national demonstration against gender-based violence.

JennyIn Spain over 175 local and 20 national feminist organizations, associations and platforms support the call to hold a national demonstration against gender-based violence this November. The call is also supported by over 60 left-leaning groups (such as trade unions, political parties, NGOs) and hundreds to thousands of university students who filled the streets of Madrid on November 7th (7N) to denounce the impunity with which women in Spain are murdered and tortured under the claims of love, social superiority, and overlooked inequality. The demonstration is called “Marcha Estatal Contra las Violencias Machistas”, which translates to “The National March Against Patriarchal Violence”. This was the first march of its kind.

There are many words in Spanish that are difficult to translate into English, particularly when they are culturally specific. One of these words is machista. Although it is often translated to male chauvinist or sexist, the former actually being the translation of machista in 7N’s manifesto, it doesn’t quite capture the negative feelings brought up by that word. The closest term I came up with in my working knowledge of English was patriarchal, but then this word also has problems of its own. For this reason, I want to talk about current perceptions of patriarchy, especially in the greater feminist context to approach the issue of gender violence and inequality.

Jenny 4For some, patriarchy is a dated term. There are many who even argue that patriarchy is dead (see “The Patriarchy is Dead” on Slate by Hanna Rosin or “#WorldPatriarchyDay” by Rachel Edwards). For those who dedicate themselves to a feminist project, be it individual or collective, academic or institutional, local or international, this statement may seem like it comes from some misguided or misinformed person who read the rise of the number of women in graduate level education, as head of households, or even as earning more income than before, as proof of the last breaths of patriarchy.

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Patriarchy, it is argued, considers gender (and sex) but tends to leave out a discussion of ethnicity, sexuality, class, economic status, education and religion. Just as the term feminism is highly contested and discussed, to define what it is and what it is not, what it includes or excludes purposefully or not, whether it is singular or plural, patriarchy has been treated as a passé term and the means for understanding the situation in which women, girls, and non-heteronormative persons may find themselves. For those who consider patriarchy to be too simplistic, too inaccurate, or too dead, as a way of framing and speaking of gender inequality, new words and concepts have been born to discuss our current situations of disempowerment, objectification, and (lack of) privilege. But how did this lead to patriarchy being in the grave? Are we dealing with a zombie?

When I make the claim that there are those who may argue that patriarchy is dead, I actually want to highlight that they may also be dedicated to feminist projects themselves. I do not point fingers, but if you have ever sat through workshops or gender studies courses, you can attest to the fiery discussions that something like patriarchy, (in)equality or intersectionality can stimulate. There are self-identified feminists and activists who try to demonstrate that talking of patriarchy is dated for whatever reason (theoretically, conceptually, historically — check out the provocative introduction of kyriarchy as an example), but such debates can be approached as a battle of vocabulary and contexts. This is where a feeling of discomfort may set in. For the more we talk, it seems the farther we get away from what is happening in the everyday. Depending on how you learn of or begin to approach patriarchy, it takes very little to notice that this (zombie) prick is still alive, kicking, and not going anywhere soon.

Jenny 2Indeed, patriarchy is not dead at all, neither the practice or the system, nor its ramifications. How else could you explain the 45+ murders of women in Spain this year and the lack of action by the majority of its people and government? Patriarchy, however, as a concept to discuss issues of power, objectification and oppression in relation to women and girls, non-heterosexuals, queer folk and trans people, has been less popular in certain contexts than it used to be. This is to our detriment.

So, if patriarchy isn’t dead, what is patriarchy? It is a term, a concept, used to describe a society in which unequal power relations between men (those who are of masculine gender and/or the male sex) and “non-men” (women, children, non-heterosexuals, trans, disabled, etc.) exist. “Non-men” are systematically disadvantaged and oppressed due to this inequality that spreads throughout all sectors of society and life. It is not merely sexism or specifically men-on-women violence. It is the idea that the social order depends upon a heteronormative male-dominated power structure. What are examples of this power structure? Examples range from the idea that women must be caregivers, men make household decisions, boys wear blue and girls wear pink, men must be the ones pursuing women for relationships (because if women did so, it suggests they are promiscuous, slovenly or unfaithful), only heterosexuality is normal, someone’s clothing or body may be read as “asking for” harassment or rape, or that someone “belongs” to someone else.

In any case, a key feature of patriarchy is violence by men on “non-men”. This includes violence on women, on LGBT folk, on the poor and disabled, even other men who are labeled as “not man enough”. In Spain, the feminist movement is demanding a call to action to address violence by men on women. I have taken the time to point out the violent nature of patriarchy to discuss a terrible reality here in Spain and to return to a discussion of violencias machistas.

In Spain, patriarchy is the go-to term to explain the extreme gender violence going on to its people. From the physical abuse that leads to the loss of life of a former lover to the misinformation of femicide (murders of women) that occurs in the media, patriarchy explains why gender violence is being obscured on various levels at home, in school, at the workplace, and in the community. The victims of gender violence are lost in the headlines, reports are not made clear, and the language used deters away from what is actually going on. Women are not murdered but are described as targets of domestic violence, as victims of household dramas, as being found dead, or as dying. As has been repeated by various feminist activists throughout Spain in the last months, if not years, they are killing us. Women are murdered by the dozens, gender violence is rampant, and no one seems to be doing anything to stop it or even slow it down.

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Femicide #27, 06/07/2015, Pravia Casturias, man murders his partner. News headline: He kills his wife and commits suicide after assaulting the elderly woman he cared for in Pravia

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Femicide #14, 06/04/2015, Gibraltar, man murders his girlfriend by stabbing her to death. News headline: 5 victims are dead due to gender violence in only one working day – A four year old child and a six-week old infant counted among the dead

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Photos from Women in Black action on October 25th, 2015 by Asamblea Feminista Unitaria in Granada

There have been 80 femicides and murders related to patriarchal gender violence so far in 2015 in Spain. Men have killed current or former women partners out of rage, jealousy, or a sense of entitled revenge. Women were killed in the process of violent robberies in which they were chosen as easy targets and left to die. Men have died trying to protect loved ones from gender violence. Women were murdered by former family members out of disagreements. Some of the aggressors have taken their own lives when committing these crimes, but this is not a solution or end of the problem. These femicides and murders have negatively impacted families and communities from the local to national level, yet little continues to be done to change the situation. If over 70 people have died because of patriarchal gender violence with almost no alarm being sounded, how many lives are to be lost until something happens? Would there be a different call to action if 80 students were lost in a fire at school or 80 commuters died during a pile up on a highway? What if a person died every week due to violent street gangs, totaling 56 deaths in one year? What will it take to get everyone’s attention? How much are our lives worth?

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To remember those whose lives were taken away too early, tragically and violently, I have included the following list of the 80 femicides and murders in Spain in 2015 (as of October 25th) at the hands of femicide and gender violence, as documented at Feminicidio.net.

Spain thanks you for your solidarity on 7N.

 

LIST OF FEMICIDES AND MURDER OF WOMEN IN 2015

Femicide by intimate partner, official

  1. 12/01/2015. Teresa Fernández S., 70 years old. El Altet – Elche (Alicante, Comunidad Valenciana). Femicide by intimate partner. Official figure.
  2. 19/01/2015 *(date body was discovered). Gisela S. R., 69 years old. Orba (Alicante, Comunidad Valenciana). Femicide by intimate partner. Official figure.
  3. 21/01/2015. Sandra M. A., 39 years old. Terrassa (Barcelona, Catalonia). Femicide by intimate partner. Official figure.
  4. 04/02/2015. Egle B., 39 years old. Ronda (Málaga, Andalusia). Femicide by intimate partner. Official figure.
  5. 12/02/2015. Susana Carrasquer Perujo, 38 years old, Valencia (Valencia). Femicide by intimate partner. Official figure.
  6. 09/03/2015. Hanane O. B., 43 years old. Denia (Alicante, Valencia). Femicide by intimate partner. Official figure.
  7. 11/03/2015. Tamara Simón Barrut, 23 years old. Cáceres (Extremadura). Femicide by intimate partner. Official figure.
  8. 29/03/2015. Davinia V., 30 years old. Alhaurín de la Torre (Málaga, Andalusia). Femicide by intimate partner. Official figure.
  9. 30/03/2015. Name unknown, 24 years old. Lleida (Catalonia). Femicide by intimate partner. Official figure.
  10. 02/04/2015. Name unknown, 29 years old. Vitoria Gasteiz (Álava, the Basque Country). Femicide by intimate partner. Official figure.
  11. 03/05/2015. Francisca Herrera, 47 years old. Sorbas (Almería, Andalusia). Femicide by intimate partner. Official figure.
  12. 08/05/2015. Isabel Fuentes Fernández, 65 years old. Ourense (Galicia). Femicide by intimate partner. Official figure.
  13. 14/05/2015. Gema Ruiz, 48 years old. Denia (Alicante, Valencia). Femicide by intimate partner. Official figure.
  14. 15/05/2015. Encarna de la Cruz Blázquez, 41 years old. Villaviciosa de Odón (Madrid). Femicide by intimate partner. Official figure.
  15. 03/06/2015. Mª del Águila P. H., 50 years old. Alcalá de Guadaira (Seville, Andalusia). Femicide by intimate partner. Official figure.
  16. 13/06/2015. Mª Ángeles Quintana Riestra, 40 years old. Herrera de Camargo (Cantabria, Cantabria). Femicide by intimate partner. Official figure.
  17. 22/06/2015. R. N., 36 years old. Soria (Castilla and León). Femicide by intimate
    partner. Official figure.
  18. 26/06/2015. Name unknown, 41 years old. Barcelona (Catalonia). Femicide by intimate partner. Official figure.
  19. 03/07/2015. Beatriz Rodríguez Mariño, 30 years old. Arbo (Pontevedra, Galicia). Feminicidio íntimo. Official figure.
  20. 05/07/2015. Felicidade Rosa Plácido, 68 years old. Pravia (Asturias). Femicide by intimate partner. Official figure.
  21. 09/07/2015. Anka Illy, 22 years old. Arganda del Rey (Madrid, Madrid). Femicide by intimate partner. Official figure.
  22. 10/07/2015. Laura González, 27 years old. La Palma de Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands). Femicide by intimate partner. Official figure.
  23. 11/07/2015. Name unknown, age unknown. Calella de la Costa (Barcelona, Catalonia). Femicide by intimate partner. Official figure.
  24. 15/07/2015. Rosario Escobar, 60 years old. Mollina (Málaga, Andalusia). Femicide by intimate partner. Official figure.
  25. 31/07/2015. G. V. R., 33 years old. Palma de Mallorca (Balearic Islands). Femicide by intimate partner. Official figure.
  26. 05/08/2015. Maryna, 45 years old. Castelldefels (Barcelona, Catalonia). Femicide by intimate partner. Official figure.
  27. 05/08/2015 (date body was discovered: 12/08/2015). Marina Okarynska, 26 years old. Cuenca (Cuenca, Castilla-La Mancha). Femicide by intimate partner. Official figure.
  28. 12/08/2015. Olga F.E., 44 years old. Castelldefels (Barcelona, Catalonia). Femicide by intimate partner. Official figure.
  29. 17/08/2015. Otilia Márquez, 68 years old. Armilla (Granada, Andalusia). Femicide by intimate partner.  Official figure.
  30. 27/08/2015. Antonia Cortés Lombardo, 43 years old. Noalejo (Jaén, Andalusia). Femicide by intimate partner. Official figure.
  31. 06/09/2015. Divina Mendes Pereira da Silva, 46 years old. Vigo (Pontevedra, Galicia). Femicide by intimate partner. Official figure.
  32. 17/09/2015. Fuensanta López García, 42 years old. Valencia (Comunidad Valenciana). Femicide by intimate partner. Official figure.
  33. 03/10/2015. Almudena Matarranz, 39 years old. Erandio (Bizkaia, the Basque Country). Femicide by intimate partner. Official figure.
  34. 05/10/2015. Maimouna Diarra, 23 years old. Beniel (Murcia, Murcia). Femicide by intimate partner. Official figure.
  35. 04/10/2015. Silvina de Oliveira, 33 años. Vigo (Pontevedra, Galicia). Femicide by intimate partner. Official figure.
  36. 06/10/2015. Carmen María Ocampos, 33 años. Guardo (Palencia, Castilla y León). Femicide by intimate partner. Official figure.
  37. 22/10/2015. Iris Francés Luis, 36 años. El Sobradillo (Tenerife, Islas Canarias). Femicide by intimate partner. Official figure.

Femicide by intimate partner, unofficial

  1. 02/03/2015 (*date body was discovered, murdered in July of 2014). Segunda María Desviat, 32 years old. Barcelona (Catalonia). Femicide by intimate partner. Unofficial figure.
  2. 21/06/2015. Name unknown, 40 years old. Torre del Mar (Málaga, Andalusia). Femicide by intimate partner. Unofficial figure (investigation continues under Ministry).
  3. 16/07/2015. Sonia Meléndez Mitre, 48 years old. Gijón (Asturias). Femicide by intimate partner. Unofficial figure (investigation continues under Ministry).
  4. 29/07/2015. Dolores Moya González, 41 years old. Serra (Valencia, Comunidad Valenciana). Femicide by intimate partner. Unofficial figure (investigation continues under Ministry).
  5. 08/08/2015. Leire Rodríguez Montero, 34 years old. Bilbao (Bizkaia, the Basque Country). Femicide by intimate partner. Unofficial figure (investigation continues under Ministry).
  6. 05/10/2015 (*date body was discovered). Silvina de Oliveira, 33 years old. Vigo (Pontevedra, Galicia). Femicide by intimate partner. Unofficial figure.
  7. 06/10/2015. C. M. O., 33 years old. Guardo (Palencia, Castilla y León). Femicide by intimate partner. Unofficial figure.

Femicide by non-intimate partners

  1. 04/02/2015. Araceli Araújo Fernández, 55 years old. Arrecife (Lanzarote, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria). Femicide by non-intimate partner. Unofficial figure.
  2. 27/03/2015. Jean Hellen Tarsey, 77 years old. Xaló (Alicante, Valencia). Femicide by non-intimate partner. Unofficial figure.
  3. 05/04/2015 (date body was discovered: 11/09/2015). Denise Pikka Thiem, 41 years old. Castrillo de los Polvazares (León, Castilla y León). Femicide by non-intimate partner. Unofficial figure.
  4. 05/08/2015 (date body was discovered: 12/08/2015). Laura del Hoyo, 24 years old. Cuenca (Cuenca, Castilla-La Mancha). Femicide by non-intimate partner. Unofficial figure.
  5. 30/09/2015. Nuria Jiménez García, 41 years old. Málaga (Andalusia). Femicide by non-intimate partner. Unofficial figure.

Femicide by non-immediate family members

  1. 12/01/2015. Natividad Fernández S., 64 years old. El Atlet – Elche (Alicante, Valencia). Femicide by non-immediate family member (murdered by former brother-in-law). Unofficial figure.

Feminicide by immediate family members

  1. 23/01/2015. Marisa C. H., 46 years old. Vitigudino (Salamanca, Castilla y León). Femicide by immediate family member (murdered by her son). Unofficial figure.
  2. 04/02/2015. Mª del Carmen F. J., 48 years old. Pozuelo de Alarcón (Madrid, Madrid). Femicide by immediate family member (murdered by her son). Unofficial figure.
  3. 23/02/2015. (First name unknown) F., 68 years old. León (León, Castilla y León). Femicide by immediate family member (murdered by her son). Unofficial figure.
  4. 24/02/2015. Name unknown, 59 years old. Martorell (Barcelona, Catalonia). Femicide by immediate family member (murdered by her son). Unofficial figure.
  5. 23/03/2015. Name unknown, 81 years old. Valldoreix – Sant Cugat del Vallés (Barcelona, Catalonia). Femicide by immediate family member (murdered by her son). Unofficial figure.
  6. 07/05/2015. Mª Carmen Gómez Suárez, 48 years old. Sevilla (Andalusia). Femicide by immediate family member (murdered by her nephew). Unofficial figure.
  7. 13/05/2015. Noelia, 42 years old. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Canary Islands). by immediate family member (murdered by her brother). Unofficial figure.
  8. 07/06/2015. Name unknown, 70 years old. Barcelona (Catalonia). Femicide by immediate family member (murdered by her son). Unofficial figure.
  9. 23/06/2015. Ana Mª M., 45 years old. Vinarós (Castellón, Valencia). Femicide by immediate family member (murdered by her son). Unofficial figure.
  10. 30/06/2015. Name unknown, García, 66 years old. Villajoyosa (Alicante, Valencia). Femicide by immediate family member (murdered by her son). Unofficial figure.
  11. 05/07/2015. Name unknown, 60 years old. Barcelona (Catalonia). Femicide by immediate family member (murdered by her son). Unofficial figure.
  12. 05/07/2015. Name unknown, 36 years old. Barcelona (Catalonia). Femicide by immediate family member (murdered by her son). Unofficial figure.
  13. 31/07/2015. M. M. J. U., 73 years old. Madrid (Madrid). Femicide by immediate family member (murdered by her son). Unofficial figure.
  14. 05/08/2015. C. M. J., 55 years old. Rubí (Barcelona, Catalonia). Femicide by immediate family member (murdered by her son). Unofficial figure.
  15. 27/08/2015. Ana Delia Arceo Méndez, 76 years old. Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Tenerife, Canary Islands). Femicide by immediate family member (by lack of care by her son). Unofficial figure.

Femicide/murder of women, cases without sufficient information

  1. 29/03/2015 (*date body was discovered). Name unknown, 40 years old. Isla Cristina (Huelva, Andalusia). Murder without sufficient information. Unofficial figure.
  2. 31/03/2015 (*approximate date). Adriana Giogiosa Nasini, 55 years old. Majadahonda (Madrid). Femicide without sufficient information. Unofficial figure.
  3. 02/05/2015 (*date body was discovered: 06/06/2015). Socorro Pérez Rodríguez, 43 years old. Ourense (Ourense, Galicia). Femicide without sufficient information. Unofficial figure.
  4. 07/06/2015. Yelisa Altagracia Pérez, 39 years old. A Pobra do Caramiñal (La Coruña, Galicia). Femicide without sufficient information. Unofficial figure.
  5. 17/10/2015 (*date body was discovered). Meritxell Vall B., 32 años. Tarragona (Cataluña). Femicide without sufficient information. Unofficial figure.

Infantile femicide

  1. 30/06/2015. Cristina, 14 years old. Villajoyosa (Alicante. Valencia). Infantile femicide (murderd by her step-father). Unofficial figure (investigation continues under Ministry).
  2. 31/07/2015. Amaia Oubel Vieites, 4 years old. Moraña (Pontevedra, Galicia). Infantile femicide (murdered by her father). Unofficial figure (investigation continues under Ministry).
  3. 31/07/2015. Candela Oubel Vieites, 9 years old. Moraña (Pontevedra, Galicia). Infantile femicide (murdered by her father). Unofficial figure (investigation continues under Ministry).
  4. 05/08/2015. Name unknown, 7 years old. Castelldefels (Barcelona, Catalonia). Infantile femicide (murdered by her father). Official figure.

Transphobic femicide

  1. 21/07/2015. Name unknown, 41 years old. Alicante (Valencia). Transphobic femicide. Unofficial figure.

Murders of women during theft

  1. 23/04/2015. Joaquina C. C., 83 years old. Baena (Cordova, Andalusia). Murders of women during theft. Unofficial figure.
  2. 15/06/2015. Rilma Liliana Velásquez Rojas, 37 years old. Sant Antoni de Portmany (Ibiza, Balearic Islands). Murders of women during theft. Unofficial figure.
  3. 09/07/2015. María Gracia Martínez, 62 years old. Sevilla (Andalusia). Murders of women during theft. Unofficial figure.
  4. 01/07/2015 (date body was discovered: 09/07/2015). Francisca Jiménez Hernández, 65 years old. Ontur (Albacete, Castilla la Mancha). Murders of women during theft. Unofficial figure.

Murders of women by community violence

  1. 02/09/2015. Name unknown (alias: La Cirolita), 60 years old. Mazarrón (Murcia). Murder of women by community violence. Unofficial figure.

Men murdered by gender violence

  1. 09/02/2015. Alejandro Rodríguez, 3 years old. Rincón de la Victoria (Málaga, Andalusia). Murdered by the partner of his mother. Case under investigation by Ministry.
  2. 03/05/2015. Manuel Tristán B., 57 years old. Níjar (Almería, Andalusia). Murdered by the husband of his female employee.
  3. 04/05/2015. Name unknown, 10 years old. Torrevieja (Alicante, Valencia). Murdered by mother’s partner.
  4. 30/06/2015 Carlos Soler, 6 years old. Villajoyosa (Alicante, Valencia). Murdered by his father. Case under investigation by Ministry.
  5. 03/07/2015. Sergio Rodríguez Fernández, 36 years old. Arbo (Pontevedra, Galicia). Murdered by the ex-partner of his current partner.
  6. 16/07/2015. Carlos Martínez, 75 years old. Sevilla (Andalusia). Murdered by the ex-partner of his niece.
  7. 05/08/2015. Name unknown, 12 years old. Castelldefels (Barcelona, Catalonia). Murdered by father. Official case.

Femicide by intimate partner of Spanish citizens outside of Spain

  1. 31/07/2015 (date body was discovered: 16/08/2015). Sandra García, 45 years old. Murdered in Utrecht (Holland); resident of Sabadell (Barcelona, Catalonia). Femicide by intimate partner.

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