Even the best-designed laws in the world are as worthless as the paper they’re scribbled on if the government doesn’t provide the intestinal fortitude and money needed to bring them to life.
That’s that message that thousands of Argentines are taking to the streets today to shout at their government.
Under the banner #NiUnaMenos (Not One Less) — a hashtag that has gone viral this week — Argentines are marching to protest an unofficial femicide rate that has reached the ghoulish tally of 1,808 over the past seven years. That’s an unofficial count because the Argentine government, despite it’s progressive legislation aimed at protecting women from violence, doesn’t keep such numbers.
And that’s part of the problem. Despite having what many consider to be “model legislation” to protect women’s right to a life without violence, Argentina’s government hasn’t given the issue much more than lip service over the past decade, feminists say. And sometimes not even that much.
President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, a self-styled leftist, has essentially avoided addressing the issues of femicides and violence against women for years. Only last night did she finally jump on the hashtag bandwagon on the eve of today’s nationwide march. And even then, according to young feminist activist Pamela Martin Garcia, Kirchner managed to bungle the message of the march, treating the matter as a women’s issue — prompting a flurry of Twitter responses from men and women reminding the president that violence against women is an issue that affects everyone.
That simple tweet, Martin Garcia says, is demonstrative of the gaping disconnect between the government and society when it comes to women’s rights. For that matter, the young feminist leader says, it also shows the disconnect between the government and its own laws, which have been neatly shelved and ignored in leather-backed tomes.