As the murder rate in El Salvador has risen to an average of 12 murders per day, Archbishop José Escobar Alas of San Salvador is encouraging Salvadorans to not become immune to the violence. According to police statistics, this murder rate is a 38% increase from 2008. Of the victims, a shocking 70% are youth between the ages of 15 and 24.
However, the murder rate is not the only shocking statistic in El Salvador. This week, Diario Co-Latino featured an article highlighting the prevalence of domestic violence against women in Central America. According to the article, one in every three women experience physical, sexual, or other violent abuse, most from family members. Recently, AVON Centroamérica, the Norma Virginia Guirola de
Herrera Institute for Women’s Studies (CEMUJER), and the Organization of Salvadoran Women for Peace (ORMUSA) launched an awareness campaign against domestic violence.
Because of the high rate of gang violence and murder in El Salvador, domestic violence against women is often in the back of the public’s
mind. However, it is a serious problem that must be confronted. The US State Department’s 2008 report on human rights showed that in 2008 there were 6,051 reports of domestic violence, and there were most certainly many more that went unreported.
During his election campaign and soon after winning the presidency, President Funes promoted Ciudad Mujer, his plan to create support centers for women in each department. These centers would offer services such as childcare, health programs, prenatal support through the program Madre Feliz, social support for domestic violence, legal advice, economic assistance through microcredit and workshops, and religious activities.
First Lady, Vanda Pignato, was announced as the spearhead of this project. However, in the last couple of months, there has been little or no information in the news concerning Ciudad Mujer. Considering the government’s main priority currently is economic stability, Ciudad Mujer may be taking a backseat for the time-being. If Ciudad Mujer is carried-out to its full potential, it could be a historic step towards improving the lives of Salvadoran women throughout the country.