Pilar, Orihuela and Torrevieja mark  International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

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Town Halls across Spain marked International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on Monday, November 25th, and those in the Vega Baja area were no exception, although each did so in their own way.

In Torrevieja the local Women’s Association gathered about 100 people for an emotional act that remembered those women who have been killed in gender violence incidents during 2013 which began by reading out an extract from an emotive text written by Rosana Montalbán.

“We are the silence, the absence, the space that disappears in each of our lives. We are the voice that you no longer hear in the morning on a bus, the friend that never comes back to collect what she lent you, the silence of a thousand unsaid phrases. We are the absence at your work, at your school, in your neighbourhood, in your streets, in your life. We are the memory that never disappears, that endures in you refusing to fly away.”

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The association ‘Feminism 15M Torrevieja, Take the Streets!’ also argued that cuts to social rights, education, healthcare and workers’ rights are also gender violence as they particularly affect women, forcing many of them back to the old Spain, in which they were only housewives and carers.

In Pilar de la Horadada, 45 candles illuminated the entrance to the Town Hall in homage to the women who died at the hands of their partners this year. Dozens of residents turned out to hear Mayor José Fidel Ros insist that “we are obliged to take positive action to make their rights real and effective”.

Councillor for Equality Asunción Sánchez had also appeared on the radio that morning to offer advice to women in violent situations and witnesses. The municipality also held a self defence demonstration on Tuesday, followed by the presentation of a new book ‘Zorras’ (Bitches), by its author, Julia Romero.

Orihuela marked the occasion by hanging a giant purple bow from the front of the Town Hall, where the full council held a minute’s silence at midday. Councillor for Equality Emilio Zaplana said this annual event ‘simply shouldn’t have to exist’. He insisted the Valencian and national governments must not cut resources to fight such a ‘blot on society’ and should educate in the classrooms against sexism.

The councillor also noted that the Municipal Attention to Victims Service (SEMAVI) has already offered help and resources to 88 women and 34 child victims of gender violence. He argued that children should also be classified as victims under the new Law against Gender Violence and that society must give abusers nowhere to hide.