Mexico: Efforts to Reduce Violence against Women in Chiapas
Sunday, August 31, 2014 10:35 PM

Authorities in the Mexican state of Chiapas have launched new efforts to combat a rise in violence against women, including domestic violence and femicide. In Chiapas, 84 women were killed as a result of gender-based violence during a single 10-month period, January to October 2013. The killing of women has increased across Mexico in recent years, particularly in Chiapas and seven other Mexican states, according to a 2012 report from the Mexican government.  

However, the Mexican federal government and the Chiapas attorney general's office recently reported a decrease in violent crimes against women in Chiapas in early 2014, including femicides. They attribute the decrease to the government's Emerging Action Plan for the Prevention and Treatment of Femicide and Gender Violence, which includes "domestic-violence prevention workshops, media education, law enforcement training and a 24-hour, toll-free domestic-abuse hotline." Despite these reported gains, women's advocates remain concerned that poverty in Chiapas and other societal pressures such as entrenched discrimination against women will blunt the government's efforts to reduce violence against women. They argue that such violence is under-reported due to shame and fear of retaliation. 

Still, the fight for women's equality is considered unique in Chiapas due the struggles of the indigenous Zapatista movement, which dates from the early 1990's. The movement advanced a "Women's Revolutionary Law" that outlined a bill of rights for women, including the right to be free from sexual and domestic violence.

Compiled from: Liles, Laura, “For women in Chiapas, hoping and working toward a 'life free of violence,'" Sacramento Bee (August 24, 2014).