Fighting 'Femicide'

A majority of the most dangerous countries in the world for women are found in Latin America and the Caribbean, a region where patriarchy is increasingly clashing with a changing role for women. Of the 25 countries with the highest homicide rates for women, 14 are in this region, according to the Small Arms Survey, based in Geneva. “Women are being killed and are subjected to abuse just because of their gender,” said Virgilio Almanzar, director of the Dominican Human Rights Committee in Santo Domingo. The murder of women has been known as “femicide,” a term commonly used in Latin America but rare in the United States. While some, including Catholic officials working on the issue, see signs of progress, like new laws and public awareness campaigns, observers say changing the deep-rooted culture is a slow process.

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