In the first five months of 2021, more than thirty Nicaraguan women were murdered, and seven of them died as a consequence of extreme violence. The number of femicides perpetrated in Nicaragua follows the trend of 2020, which is significant considering that the previous year was the most violent in the last nine years.
"Last year (in this period) 32 femicides were registered and we are almost 40 now," says a member of Red de Mujeres contra la Violencia (the Network of Women against Violence), who, due to the persecution of the regime against opponents, including feminists, asks not to be identified.
The feminist adds that, between January and May 2020, there were 40 attempted femicides and more than 60 have already been registered in 2021. "The increase is evident, we see it daily in all spaces and there are no measures for prevention, nor to talk about this issue because we are all vulnerable", she laments.
According to monitoring data from the organization Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir (pro-choice Catholic women), the number of attempted femicides identified between January and May of this year had an increase of 50% compared to the same period in 2020, and in turn, the increase is 2.2 times higher than the figure reported in 2019. This marks an upward trend that warns of the risk of being a woman in Nicaragua.
Data point out that violence against women has been increasing since 2018. However, it was in 2020, the year of the covid-19 pandemic, that it was surpassed with 71 cases, the highest number of femicides reported since 2012. Last year, the number of attempted femicides increased by 60% over the previous year, accumulating 115 in that year.
For its part, the State minimizes the deaths of Nicaraguan women. The statistical yearbook of the National Police from 2020 explains that this institution only received reports of 22 femicides that year, one more than those acknowledged in 2019. Meanwhile, there were another 30 deaths that were classified as murders or homicides and the number of attempted femicides is unknown.
Almost 40 orphans due to femicides, while impunity reigns
The number of children and adolescents orphaned during the first five months of this year already amounts to 39, according to calculations by Católicas por el Derechos a Decidir (Catholics for Right to Choose). However, few of the femicides have been properly prosecuted.
"Impunity is another cause of violence. Murderers and aggressors are not serving a sentence or are not being punished for the crime committed. Rather, it is about making the problem invisible and we have seen the release of aggressors, of murderers who did not serve the sentence; of women who do not take the complaint or there is no investigative process, nor are there no precautionary measures of protection", regrets the RMCV.
Last year, the Network of Women against Violence denounced that more than 500 men who had been convicted for crimes of gender violence were included by the State in the groups of inmates that they decided to release, as a policy of "presidential pardon" that the Ortega administration has been doing for several years in the face of the saturation of the prisons.
CONFIDENCIAL learned about the case of a woman from Estelí who suffered harassment from her ex-partner who was released after being in prison for less than a year despite the fact that he was accused of sexual abuse, beatings and death threats.
One of the most recent femicides that shocked the country was that of Cheyling Munguía, a 21 year old medical student who was murdered by René Maltéz, 22. He is being prosecuted, but was referred to the psychiatric hospital this week because he presents a suicide risk.
Gender violence in oblivion
The concern about the increase in violence against women is a demand that has only been insisted on by feminist movements, says the member of the RMCV, who asked not to be named for security reasons, and points out that neither the State nor the opponents have included this issue.
"We have always been the ones who have wanted to position this problem, no one has included it within their actions, or within their policies. And I am not only talking about the State institutions as such, but also private enterprise, the Church, the opposition, no one has taken the time to analyze the situation of violence against women and even less in this context. We have seen total indifference," she laments.
This article was originally published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by our staff