MEXICO CITY – Thirty-eight percent of Mexican women suffer physical, sexual or psychological aggression, and nearly 75 percent of victims don’t report the abuse, according to a report from industrial-safety consultants GMSI.
The company’s study of gender violence found that the problem affects 33 percent of women worldwide, with the proportion reaching 71 percent in Africa and 40 percent in Latin America.
“Fear and shame keep many women from reporting it, so the figures do not really reflect the magnitude of the problem,” GMSI president Alejandro Desfassiaux says.
The report cites figures from the World Bank estimating the annual cost of gender violence to the Mexican economy at more than 60 billion pesos ($5.9 billion). Medical expenses represent almost 70 percent of the total, while the rest is in the form of lost productivity.
At the same time, GMSI says that violence against women causes more “deaths and injuries than traffic accidents.”
Violence also gives rise to the “abused woman syndrome,” according to the report, which is characterized by feelings of defenselessness, terror, anxiety, fear, apathy, abrupt mood swings, attempted suicide and personality deterioration.
These feelings in the woman are accompanied by headaches, ulcers, insomnia, anemia, loss of appetite and high blood pressure, it says.
The report warns that 7.8 percent of women have suffered sexual assault, 9.3 percent other forms of physical aggression, some 27.3 percent economic violence and 35.4 percent emotional violence.
“Sexual abuse is the most extreme kind of aggression in the home,” Desfassiaux says, adding that this is the least reported kind of violence.
The category of economic violence includes suspending the household budget or spending elsewhere the money meant for the home.
The report also says that there is no difference in violence among married women and single women living with a partner, and 70 percent of cases of violence begin during the period of engagement, which stems from the generalized attitude of men that they have the “right” to dominate, take charge of and correct women. EFE