Montero: "We are not arriving on time in some cases and as institutions we have special responsibility"

Yesterday was a black day, one more, of sexist violence. First, the worst was confirmed: the body found on the Tenerife coast was that of Olivia, one of the girls who disappeared on the island after the kidnapping perpetrated by her father. The search for her father, Tomás Gimeno and Ana, the 14-month-old girl who is also missing, is still continuing. Minutes later, it was confirmed that Rocío Caíz, a 17-year-old girl who disappeared for three days, had been murdered by her ex-partner, who confessed to the crime. In this unbearable climate of sexist violence, the Minister of Equality, Irene Montero, answers Pepa Bueno’s questions in Hora 25.

Irene Montero

As Minister of Equality, I have to assume an institutional responsibility that is of added importance. This is a structural problem, but as institutions we have a special duty to assume our responsibility. It is clear that Spain is being a pioneer country in women’s rights, but we are not arriving on time in some cases. There are no words to describe the pain of Beatriz or Rocío’s family. I think there are public policies that can be done.

For many women, the safest places to report and express what is happening to them are the medical field, health centers, primary care and educational centers. We have to have a special responsibility there. And the work of “sister, I do believe you.” That the fault, when women do not report it, is not theirs, but the institutions. They do not report for fear of the aggressor and for not being believed. That is why the speech of the extreme right is so dangerous. That is why it is important that you believe them. That women are believed.

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Our legislation provides and the law alone does also, even so we must improve the protocols to guarantee comprehensive care. Many times it is about asking the correct and specific question. That happens through specialization. Boys and girls are also victims in the foreground.

With the first de-escalation we were already very alert. In the first confinement, the sexist violence exerted a very controlling, very harsh violence. Although there were fewer murders, it was there. When de-escalation occurs, perpetrators perceive a loss of control and this triggers other forms of violence that go through murder. Many women do not report this violence.

We have to put all public policies at the service of women. We have to ensure that our judicial systems are there to protect women and children. I believe that when we ask ourselves what we can do to prevent an abuser from murdering their partner, I believe that we have to respond by embracing the women who fight so that they are not criminalized. Until we eradicate violence against women we will not be able to rest.

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