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Honduras is a country in Central America that has been home to gang violence, poverty, and corruption for a very long time. However, the problem of Honduras doesn’t stop here. Due to all these issues, it has become Latin America’s most dangerous place to be a woman. Femicide is now the major concern and the cases of femicide have been accelerating year after year. Many gangs reside in this region which makes gang fights, crossfires due to gang warfare very common. Yet the highest rate of murder in Honduras is due to femicide outside the war zone.
The term femicide has been defined in 2018 by the Penal Code in force as a man or a group of men killing a woman for reasons such as gender, hatred, and just contempt for her condition as a woman. But in Honduras femicide isn’t just restricted to murder. The cases associated with domestic violence, rape, and assault are increasing simultaneously. According to a survey conducted by the United Nations in 2014, 95% of the total cases of assault or femicide are never investigated, hence letting the criminals go free to commit more crimes.
Within the years 2002 and 2013 the number of women murdered in the country was 3,923 which resulted in femicide contributing to 9.6% of the total homicide cases. On examining the number of cases registered in the year 2013 of femicide, it was revealed that in 2013 itself the number of women killed every month was 53. But this insensitivity towards women keeps increasing each day, especially since 90% of the criminals remain unpunished.
The National Congress of Honduras tried to come up with certain laws to control the crime against women in the nation. These laws classified femicide as a serious felony and the person committing a felony will be facing prison for up to 40 years if found guilty. These laws were approved in February of the year 2013.
Following are the situations in which the crime committed against women will be considered femicide
- If the felony is preceded by acts of domestic violence, irrespective of whether they were reported to authority or not.
- If the accused maintains or had any sort of physical (matrimonial, cohabitation) or emotional relationship with the victim.
- If the crime is committed with cruelty, and the wounds inflicted are degrading before or after taking the life of the victim.
- If the felony is preceded by acts of sexual violence, assault, harassment of any kind.
Many think that only local women have been a victim of femicide, however, some important figures such as Blanca Jeannette Kawas Fernández who was an environmental activist famous for her contribution in saving more than 400 species of flora and fauna have also been a victim to this cruel crime. Along with her Honduran model, María José Alvarado and Berta Isabel Cáceres Flores, an environmental activist, have been brutally murdered.
In the year 2020 itself, it was reported that every 36 hours a woman has been murdered in Honduras. Despite various laws and efforts by the government, they have been unable to reduce the crimes committed against women in the nation.
This article has been written by Ritika Pandey for The Paradigm.
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