A recent statement from the United Nations warns about the levels of violence including murder impacting women and girls in El Salvador:
24 March 2010 – Violence against women and girls in El Salvador remains prevalent and pervasive, with the number of murders on the rise and kidnappings, sexual assaults and sexual harassment all too frequent, an independent United Nations human rights expert has warned.
Rashida Manjoo, the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, wrapped up a three-day visit to El Salvador on Saturday by stressing that the Central American country still faces “significant challenges” in dealing with gender-based violence.
“Of particular concern to me is the growing prevalence and forms of such violence, especially the alarming rise in the numbers of murders of women and girls and the brutality inflicted on their bodies, which is often accompanied by kidnapping and sexual assault,” she said in a statement.
Ms. Manjoo expressed concern that the violence against women and girls is taking place in so many different settings.
“Domestic violence, sexual abuse against women and children in the home and the community, violence and sexual harassment in the workplace, particularly in the maquila sector [factories operating in duty-free zones] and the domestic sphere, police-related violence and sexual commercial exploitation” are all serious problems, the Special Rapporteur said.
According to La Prensa Grafica, 102 women were murdered in January and February of 2010 in El Salvador, frequently at the hands of spouses and lovers. A March 7, 2010 article in the online periodical ContraPunto points out that two women are murdered each day in El Salvador, and although the number of women murdered is only 10% of the total homicides in the country, the number of women murdered is rising more rapidly than the number of men. From 2008 - 2009, killings of women and girls increased 84% in the country.
Activists decry an attitude of indifference towards the problem of femicides on the part of the public security arms of the government. They call for greater awareness of the problem on the part of police, and training for law enforcement and judges. A PNC official interviewed in the ContraPunto article, however, indicated that police were not disposed to investigate murders of women differently from any other homicide.