AS thousands of Spaniards prepare to take the streets, joining the global sisterhood in a show of solidarity on March 8 for the second consecutive year, a bus with a caricature of a lipsticked and rouged Hitler will be heading into the centre of Spain’s capital.
The property of an extreme right-wing Catholic group called HazteOír, the roving campaign coach suffered ‘vandalism’ in Barcelona at the start of the week when a handful of young pro-independence Arran activists objected to its unsubtle branding of feminists as Feminazis and its message: No EsViolencia De Genero, EsViolenciaDomestica – It’s not gender violence, it’s domestic violence, and prevented its circulation while plastering it with stickers.
Meanwhile, Barcelona’s regional prosecution service has filed a complaint, alleging crimes of hatred and discrimination and stating that its propaganda ‘attacks the dignity, rights and freedom of women.’
HazteOír were consistently unavailable for comment.
The organisation is petitioning the PP, Ciudadanos and Vox to repeal the 2004 Gender Violence Law. In fact, they already have Vox on side.
The ultra right political group’s manifesto for the general elections on April 28 includes the replacing of the Gender Violence Law with an Inter-Family Violence Law.
The strike is, of course, an anathema to Vox and its Madrid president Rocio Monasterio has been encouraging party supporters to boycott it.
In a video shared on the group’s social media networks, Monasterio reads a manifesto against what she terms ‘burka ideology’ and ‘feminist supremacy’ in front of a crowd of women holding banners exclaiming: Don’t speak in my name!
“We celebrate being women 364 days a year, every day except March 8 when we will work harder than ever to affirm the power of our independence and our freedom,” she says.
“Don’t speak in my name because I am a woman and I am not a victim just because I have been born a woman. The State does not need to protect me, neither to give nor to take away. I have the same rights as a man.”
If only. Her words are seductive but the figures tell a different story.
Data from the Spanish Institute of Statistics shows that in 2018, women in the public sector accounted for 55.2% of the workforce in Spain but were typically paid €2,500 less than their male counterparts.
It also exposes the fact that women’s pensions were, on average, €450 less than men’s while the median gender pay gap was 24%.
The World Bank meanwhile has found that women enjoy only three quarters of the legal rights enjoyed by men on average globally.
More shocking is the fact that 47 women were killed last year in Spain due to gender violence. There are no figures for male fatalities in similar circumstances.
According to Ignacio González Vega, spokesman for Judges for Democracy: “There is structural discrimination against women in Spain which is irrefutable. This structural discrimination requires measures such as positive discrimination. It’s a question of justice.”
But member of the Roma community and Vox candidate for the local elections in Algeciras, Isabel Nieto Fajardo, 32, argues: “Vox doesn’t want to take the priority away from women but it wants gender equality; so both men and women should be believed when reporting violence. There are also men who are subjected to abuse, but when they report it, they are not taken seriously and Vox wants that to change.
“I have a son,” she told the Olive Press.
“I don’t know who he’s going to marry in the future. But imagine his wife hits herself on a piece of furniture and blames it on him. He then gets thrown into a cell and is served with a restraining order.
“Vox wants the allegation investigated if it is true. But not if it’s a lie, because there are an awful lot of false allegations made.”
According to Spain’s Director of Public Prosecutions, the false allegations she refers to account for only 0.01% of the abuse reported by women since 2009.
That aside, gender violence and domestic violence are two very different issues.
Sofía Martínez, a member of the feminist association Andrea in Pamplona which was active in protesting the nine-year sentence for sexual abuse given this year to the Wolf Pack by the Navarre Supreme Court, explains: “The law against domestic violence which we had in this country some time ago addressed the problem of violence against women in the domestic family environment within the four walls of a house.
“A lot of people, above all women, have fought to have this changed to gender violence because it is violence against women on account of the fact they are women, and it can happen anywhere.
“Now Vox wants to turn back the clock and have a law that only applies if it happens between the four walls of a house.”
As far as Martínez is concerned, while it is the prerogative of Vox’s female supporters not to participate in fighting a discrimination that seems all but stitched into our DNA, others have a right to be actively engaged in changing the status quo to achieve a balance that might make positive discrimination redundant in the future.
“I believe that these people live in a parallel universe where there are no rapes or abuse,” she tells the Olive Press.
“Perhaps they don’t see things which are violent or spend time with women who have been made to feel afraid. Clearly their reality is different from mine and from most women’s.
“But if you don’t suffer, keep it to yourself.
“Don’t try to make the rest of us go backwards, not after we’ve spent so long fighting to inch forward.”
Meanwhile, it seems HazteOír’s dig at Feminazis was backfiring over the course of their nationwide campaign with some citizens getting entirely the wrong end of the stick.
As Hitler proclaimed in 1934 that ‘[a woman’s] world is her husband, her family, her children, her house,’ one elderly lady was understandably confused.
“Hitler,” she said. “That must be those Vox people.”