UN officials have said Mexico ranks among the world’s 20 worst countries for violence against women. Six women are killed in Mexico every day which is a terrifying statistic. If a woman does come forward to report domestic or sexual violence being perpetrated against them they are often let down by the legal system which feels free to pass judgement on their chastity before the attack took place. Can you imagine having to prove your innocence? It’s no wonder many women don’t come forward to report such attacks when they are met with disbelief, apathy and indifference from the very public servants who should be there to protect them.
It’s sad to think a North American country could quite obviously undervalue a woman’s life to a man’s. It’s as if gender equality has never even been heard of in Mexico, much less enacted. It makes me grateful that I grew up in Australia learning such behaviour wasn’t acceptable and now live in Canada where I can write about such things.
Except that it’s not quite so rosy for everyone here in Canada.
Every six days a woman is killed in Canada by her intimate partner. In October 2012 Canada changed its immigration laws to make it possible to lose your Landed Immigrant status if you leave your partner within two years of the marriage taking place. To substantiate a claim of abuse or neglect, immigrant women must produce corroborating evidence to gain their freedom from an abusive partner, but are not told of this fact in their native language when they start the immigration process. Women born in Canada have no such demands made of them in a similar situation.
Often immigrant women don’t speak English or French, don’t have social or familial support networks and have their spouse telling them that if they leave or make a fuss they will be deported from the country. How can this be thought of as gender equality? It makes my blood boil because I’m an immigrant woman. I didn’t have police records as I never reported the acts done against me. I was too embarrassed; my husband was behaving in such a manner? Impossible. I didn’t see the abuse happening, it was just my life.
Thankfully I was one of the lucky ones in that I spoke English and had friends on the outside that helped me escape a violent situation but I could have been just another woman trapped in a terrible situation. I wonder how the UN views the Canadian law application? It’s as if gender equality never happened for Canadian immigrant woman.