Spain’s ruling Social Democrats and the leftist party Podemos have blamed each other after the country saw a record number of murders of women in December.
Spanish Minister of Equality Irene Montero, a member of the populist leftist Podemos, called for a crisis committee earlier this month after announcing that five women had been murdered in December as a result of sexist violence, a number that increased to eight earlier this week on Wednesday when the meeting was held.
Since the meeting, three more women have been killed across the country, including a nerarly nine-month pregnant woman in Escalona who was stabbed to death by her former partner, bringing the total to eleven, a record number.
Secretary of State for Equality and against Gender Violence, Ángela Rodríguez Pam, another member of Podemos, blamed a “failure of all institutions, laying some blame on the Interior Ministry, which contributes to the Comprehensive Monitoring System in Cases of Gender Violence (VioGén), which monitors women at risk of violence.
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Minister of the Interior Fernando Grande-Marlaska, a member of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE), later announced that police would be doing more to protect the over 30,000 women in vulnerable situations on VioGén, particularly the 723 known to be at high-risk of harm, El Mundo reports.
Minister of Defense Margarita Robles, meanwhile, reacted to criticism from Podemos and spoke on the controversial “Only Yes is Yes” law which has seen reductions in sentences of convicted sex offenders and seen some freed. The law was originally designed so that victims of sexual assaults simply needed to say they did not consent, rather than prove violence or intimidation.
“I do not agree with what Podemos says and I have to tell you from the greatest respect that perhaps the law of yes is yes has not given an adequate response to the situation we are experiencing,” Minister Robles said.
Robles added that the law “had a very good philosophy, which is to protect women, but when we end the year with this situation, in which there are more people released from prison than we would like and when we see that violence is skyrocketing, it is not good to blame anyone and we must all make ourselves self-critical. Something is wrong and we all have to take our share of the blame.”
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