"We need the woman to stop being considered an object"

"We need the woman to stop being considered an object"

The denunciation of a violation of a well-known actress convulsed Argentina and brought gender violence back to the forefront, a problem that the director of the NGO Casa del Encuentro is clear about: a "cultural change" that Stop considering the woman as an object.

Ada Rico runs an association that fights violence against women and offers support to victims, and was a pioneer in Argentina on that issue when it began accounting for femicide in 2009, which last year added 292 cases, one every 30 hours.

"We need a cultural change, hopefully the new generations will achieve it, that the woman will no longer be considered an object, an object of belonging to another with which she can do what she wants: hit her, harass her, humiliate her and even kill her" , says Rico as an essential condition.

Like the impact of the recent rape denunciation of Thelma Fardín in Argentina, one of the protagonists of the series "Ugly Duckling", Spain lives in shock after being raped by Laura Luelmo, two very different cases that nevertheless , they have in common for Rico that a man "reified" the woman.

"That is the parallelism beyond the country in which it happens, the ages or the social condition, and that is what we have to change, that concept of belonging of the male aggressor towards a woman", declares the director of the NGO.

But that change "that is already being seen in society" has to be accompanied by Justice, according to the activist, since Argentina "has many laws for gender violence" but sometimes they find that judges – and also judges, assure- they do not apply them, so they ask for "specific training" in this regard.

"We are aware of it, we have laws, now it is necessary for the effectors of Justice to apply these laws in order to really be able to achieve change", summarizes Rico.

In addition to the work of pedagogy and communication that takes place in the Casa del Encuentro, a fundamental part is the assistance center created in 2010, in which 50 young volunteers work with women and families victims of sexist violence who come to ask help.

When they receive one of these women, their job is to "strengthen it, accompany it, order it, because they arrive in a state of confusion," explains Rico, and unless the risk situation is high, he argues that the first thing is not the complaint but the accompaniment so that the victim recovers emotionally.

"We, more than talking about complaints, talk about strengthening the woman, accompanying her on this path where she is encouraging herself to tell something that may have happened to her many, many years ago and could never see it," says Rico.

In this sense, the case of the complaint of Thelma Fardín has been "very important", since since it jumped to the present "they have multiplied" the consultations they receive, and there has been "a collapse" in the support organizations the woman.

Although "there is still much to do," Rico explains that in the 15 years that have passed since the Casa del Encuentro started, there have been major changes, for example in the treatment of sexist murders, which were reported as "crime passionate ", and at the time" it seemed impossible "that they began to be called feminicides, something that they finally achieved.

"The changes take time, but if they are accompanied by comprehensive public policies, protection, awareness, are achieved, yes we are optimistic, that's why we work, because it will achieve change," believes the activist.

For all this, Rico is clear that "this has no turning back", and adds: "This is a path where progress will continue and women will continue to strengthen, and the new generations will understand and will be able to say that when a woman says no, it's not. "


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