Nearly half of women in Argentina have experienced or are experiencing gender-based violence, according to a new study carried out by the government.
According to the survey, which quizzed female respondents across 12 provinces nationwide, 45 percent of those surveyed who are or were in a relationship said they had suffered some type of gender-based violence in the home. Psychological violence (42 percent) was the most commonly identified example, followed by physical violence, economic and patrimonial violence (both 23 percent) and sexual (18 percent).
In an astonishing finding, 77 percent of respondents said they had not made a criminal complaint after the act.
The study was carried out by Argentina’s Women, Gender & Diversity Ministry in conjunction with the Spotlight Initiative, a joint project from the European Union and United Nations. Conducted during the Covid-19 pandemic, it looked at four main types of violence against women: physical, psychological, sexual, and economic and patrimonial violence. Participants were asked if they had suffered from such experiences either at some point in their lives or in the last year, by a current or former partner in a heterosexual relationship.
In the case of physical violence from former partners, 47 percent of those who had suffered from such experiences said that the episodes had occurred in front of their children.
In relation to sexual abuse, 17 percent of women interviewed said that they had experienced such a situation – with 74 percent saying it happened before they had turned 18 years of age. The survey also revealed the impact that such episodes had on health and wellbeing: depression, anguish and fear were the most frequently mentioned responses.
Among the most alarming findings, the study revealed that almost 30 percent of those who experienced violence by an ex-partner and 10 percent of those who were abused by a current partner said they had no desire to continue living.
Looking at support, the figures show that 41.5 percent of those who experienced violence by a partner or former partner turned to people they knew for help and consolation. In the case of physical abuse, 60 percent sought help or counselling: this, the report emphasised, highlights the disturbing fact that 40 percent of those interviewed are experiencing their situation in solitude without any kind of support.
‘First of its kind’
According to its authors, it is the “first survey of its kind” of Argentina and therefore provides a baseline for measuring gender-based violence and its associated problems. Experts hope future incarnations of the survey will also make it possible to evaluate the state's performance and response to gender violence.
This survey "is a qualitative advance and allows us to lay the foundations for understanding the problem,” said Women, Gender & Diversity Minister Elizabeth Gómez Alcorta.
Its responses will allow the authorities to identify “the presence of risk factors, the filing [or not] of a complaint and the reasons behind this decision, the accessibility and quality of the state response, as well as the reasons why the institutional circuit was not followed, the existence of informal support networks at family and community level and their support or not when faced with a situation of gender-based violence,” she added.
Experts interviewed 12,152 women aged 18 to 65 from 25 urban areas in the provinces of Buenos Aires, Chaco, Chubut, Entre Ríos, Jujuy, Neuquén, Misiones, Salta, San Luis, Santa Fe, Santiago del Estero and Tucumán.
Salta and Jujuy provinces recorded the highest prevalence of gender-based violence, with Santa Fe recording the lowest percentage.