A day for spaces free of violence against women and girls
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Photo: Cenesex

“Going from words to action in this fight, that’s what we want,” said the director of the National Center for Sexual Education (Cenesex), Mariela Castro Espín, when presenting the conferences against gender violence and for human rights, which begin this Thursday in Cuba and are committed “to local scenarios free of gender-based violence.”

To scientific dialogue, he said, social activism is added to develop concrete actions in these scenarios and thus be able to reach, at some point, the ideal of declaring the different spaces as free of the scourge that is violence against women and girls.

Gender violence is a social, health and human rights problem, emphasized the director of Cenesex, therefore strengthening the capacities of social actors and civil society for the prevention and care of this phenomenon in local and school is paramount.

We can recognize gender violence as a human rights problem at the international level, but the important thing is to generate public policies that help to eliminate it, to transform the conditions that generate it, both structural and symbolic, added the specialist.

“It is a problem that concerns the whole of society, and therefore it is urgent to banish the myth that it is a family or couple matter in which others should not get involved, as often happens in Cuba when we as spectators contemplate violent scenes without intervene,” he explained.

Violence has the characteristic that it escalates, commented Castro Espín, and therefore it can painfully even cost someone’s life, in addition to all the psychological damage that it can generate in the victims and the people around them.

Hence, preventing is the fundamental message of these conferences, since it is about protect the population through education, not only the victims, but also the perpetrators, insofar as the consequences of these acts affect bothsaid.

Gender violence is a control mechanism that affects the autonomy and self-esteem of those who live in violent environments, said the specialist. She mentioned that, although women tend to be the greatest victims of gender violence, men can also suffer the effects of this scourge based on a heteropatriarchal model that makes them the target of symbolic violence and educates them in that paradigm as a solution to the conflicts.

They are a clear example of this, he pointed out, the stereotypes about masculinities, which are transmitted from one generation to another under the pattern of what it is to be macho, male, masculine; a “man” model that makes them more vulnerable to risky behaviors, less self-care for health, prevents them from expressing their emotions and living experiences such as fatherhood to the full.

We have to work more on training, emphasized Castro Espín, who addressed the need for clearer messages about the problem and how we can achieve consensus to change them.

Faced with violence against women and girls, we need transformative social action, exposed the director of Cenesex, who insisted that complex phenomena like this require perseverance in communicative and educational actions and in working with victims and perpetrators.

The conferences last until December 10 and also seek to draw attention to the relevance of the gender approach in the interpretation not only of the law, but also as a tool for analyzing situations, in order to achieve spaces free of violence. of people in situations of violence, provide a theoretical framework that enables the identification, detection, prevention and care of gender violence in accordance with the social policies in implementation and identify actions that contribute to the design of a system of comprehensive services for attention to people in situations of violence.

Castro Espín pointed out that Cuba today has a Program for the Advancement of Women, the Comprehensive Strategy for the Prevention of Gender Violence and the Family Code, as spaces that demonstrate a willingness to address this issue as a priority.

The sessions extend until December 10. Photo: SEMlac Cuba

In this context, he pointed out, the State’s political will to zero tolerance for any form of gender violence, particularly those that disproportionately affect women, children, adolescents, people in situations of vulnerability and those that construct non-hegemonic sexualities, identities and expressions of gender without distinction of the different scenarios of social interaction in which they occur.

In search of this objective, as part of the program of the conferences, courses on these topics, colloquia about transidentities and violence, symposiums to address the legislative changes that have occurred since 2019 in this area, and book presentations, among other actions.

The activities aim at the training of different actors. Among them, two courses stand out that will be in differentiated settings. The first is aimed at preventing violence in schools and the other is aimed at training in consulting for women in situations of violence. Both will take place on December 5, said Ada Alfonso, a Cenesex researcher and coordinator of the sessions.

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