Sitting in her living room, Paola says she has not yet replaced the door to her room. It is broken product of the blows she received from the man with whom he lived for eight years. That night, that door was the one that had the least impact. She got the worst part and still has not healed.
But that violence was present during the courtship and marriage. Comments that affected their self-esteem, shoving, beatings, apologies and reconciliations became commonplace. This is known as the cycle of violence.
In the first phase of that circle, the couple controls the life of the woman. In addition, it cuts off family and friendship ties. Then follows an explosion, which includes insults and blows. Finally there is the so-called ‘honeymoon’, in which the aggressor apologizes and attributes his violence to external factors such as stress or alcohol.
The man manages to convince the woman that she is the only person who “loves and protects her”, explained the clinical psychologists Sebastián Robalino and Erika Rojas, of the Social Security Hospital of Quito Sur.
In spite of the constant aggressions -recognize- it is not easy to get out of that cycle. Why? Fear and dependency prevent a woman from cutting the bond. These are characteristics shared by the victims.
Paola, protected name, sought help. But relatives of her ex-partner replied that “he was like that and that she had to endure”. She did it and the blows and insults intensified. When she separated, he hit her more, broke her collarbone and shattered the doors of her apartment. She was at rest for 30 days and still has not overcome her fear.
The trembling of her hands and her breathy voice betray her. Despite this, she denounced it, but the sanction was minimal: 26 days in prison. She has a support ticket, but she is afraid for her life. There is still no register of aggressors and victims, as established by the Law on the Prevention and Eradication of Violence against Women, in force since January of this year.
Last year, 59 853 cases of violence against women entered, says the Council of the Judiciary. Up to August they already total 39 902. Although many remain silent and do not denounce. In the end, many of the cases are considered contraventions, for the short time of recovery of the wounds inflicted.
The psychological and physical aggressions follow. The problem lies in the lack of preparation of judges to analyze the cycle of violence, according to groups of women.
Paulina Reyes attends six or seven cases of mistreatment a day. She is a psychologist and performs as an expert in the Judicial Complex of Quitumbe. “Low self-esteem that creeps from childhood or lack of figures affect”, adds Reyes while outside his office expect more victims.
A first step to leave everything behind, stresses, is to report in a judicial unit. In Quito, Guayaquil, Cuenca and Ambato there are specialized areas with teams formed by psychologists, medical examiners and experts. They attend 24 hours.
These units were implemented as required by the current Law, according to Zobeida Aragundi, member of the Council of the Transitory Judiciary. Victims should have access to protection measures such as aid tickets, in one of the 800 political holdings and cantonal boards of municipal rights.
Despite this progress, the official acknowledges that there are flaws in the justice system. It is concerned that there is not yet a governing body of the National System for the prevention and eradication of violence. This function was given to the Ministry of Justice in the Law. But after its elimination, it is not known which entity will take on the challenge.
The Coalition of Women calls for the creation of a Vice Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion in charge of these issues. On September 23, the General and Legal Secretariats of the Presidency and of Senplades had to give answers. But a new decree extended the deadline until October 12. So the implementation of the rule is still stopped.
Meanwhile, every three days there is a femicide in the country; 83% of murderers are the couple or ex-partner. Fernanda has a prosperous career, like Paola. She started a relationship with a man who has not been faithful to her. She even accepted that situation, but does not know how to leave the circle that includes reproaches, ridicule and physical abuse.
On several occasions she has felt the need to separate himself from that man, but she has not succeeded. “It’s like a drug, I feel dependent, despite knowing that it can kill me,” she says, and accepts that he needs psychological support to quit.
In Ecuador there are 29 violence units and 77 specialized judges, mostly in Guayas and Pichincha. At the end of this year it is expected to have 107 and 27 technical teams. “So the State would pay some of its debt to women,” says the vowel.
Aragundi repeats: “gender violence must be treated differently. It’s like a tsunami.“ And remember that the Law talks about prevention and education. In the world, November 25 will be another Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. In 2017 the Legislature wanted to commemorate or with a law, which almost a year later is still on paper. (I)