LIMA – A questionnaire by a Peruvian feminist organization has been designed to help women identify if they are in an abusive relationship.
A total of 160 femicides have been committed in Peru in 2019, the highest figure in the last decade, a reflection of what women’s rights organizations believe to be the last link in an abusive relationship.
Elga Prado, of women’s rights organization Manuela Ramos, said: “In reality, violence is progressive, violence is escalating several links and one of them has to do with starting to control, isolating the couple and then subjecting them to situations of emotional dependence, economic, total isolation.”
She said many victims of femicide are those who tried to break out of toxic relationships.
A survey commissioned by Manuela Ramos from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru found 42 percent of a sample of 2,400 people did not consider it to be abusive behaviour for a partner to check their mobile phone, and this rose to 59 percent in the jungle region of Ucayali and 58 percent in the Andean region of Ayacucho.
“More than half of the population thinks that this is not abuse, continues to justify the fact that women are to blame for being raped, so we have to start working and in that sense was developed the Machistometro game,” Prado said.
The questionnaire, called the Machistometro, consists of responding “always,” “sometimes” or “never” to 21 questions to reveal how abusive a relationship may be.
The questions range across topics such as if a partner controls a woman’s way of dressing, social interactions, social networks, prevents work or studying, as well as physical, emotional or sexual abuse.
Prado said when taking the questionnaire many women also discovered they were engaging in some of those negative behaviors.
This sparked a realization that control can become so mutual that a toxic relationship develops.
For that reason, she said this survey encourages personal reflection as well.
Since its launch last month, nearly 8,000 people have played the online version.
More than 20,000 have been distributed in a paper version, and another 750 have played in a board game version.
The goal is to reach more than 44,000 women and present statistics by 8 March for International Women’s Day.
Mabel Barreto, head of communications at Manuela Ramos, said the results of a recent national survey indicated 71 percent of abused women in Peru do not report because they do not think it is important (47.8 percent) or because they feel ashamed (14.7 percent).
“We believe this has to change because women have the right to a life free of violence,” she added.
“We have to consider that femicide is the last link in the chain of violence.”