On Wednesday, scores of women celebrated the passing of a senate bill that will make femicide a criminal offense in Uruguay. According to EBLnews, two articles of the penal code will soon be submitted to the house of representatives for consideration.
Chairwoman of the Gender Equity and Diversity Commission at the Association of Bank Employees of Uruguay, Milagro Pau, said, "We can't say 'violence is over' and decree it. We will not end the violence with a law. But, we do understand that every grain of sand, every decision we can make, and every unit of organization is a step towards a better society."
In February of this year, Uruguay recorded five femicides over a 37-day period. This sparked nationwide protests, calling for a femicide law in the country as well as repudiating the recent spate of murders. "There is a big quota of machismo when a woman (is killed), and there is a large fee for – how can I tell you – fears that a woman has when she goes out on the street. Men don't have them, and women live (them) every day," said a student, Noelia Marrero, to EBLnews.
The Frente Amplio and the National Party, which account for more than 80 percent of the Uruguayan Parliament, called for the reactivation of a 2015 bill that sought to introduce femicide as a crime in the penal code. Several Latin American countries, including Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia and Brazil, have explicitly incorporated femicide as a specific crime in their penal codes, as opposed to classifying it as a crime of passion, which is treated as a lesser crime.
"We want femicide to be specifically enshrined in our law, because, in our law, there is only homicide. And homicide, as the word says, comes from 'man'. And we are not men, we are women and men kill us, " Mary Nunez, a teacher, explained to EBLnews.