THE crimped skirts, green smoothies and exercise tips look like the pages of any glossy women’s magazine.
But read closer, and all is not what it seems.
Because the articles in the fake Artemis magazine are packed with personal accounts of domestic violence, helplines and advice on seeking police intervention.
The magazine was product of a six-month project by Denia Policía Local’s Unidad Artemis wing for abused women – and results show 24 women contacted the numbers to make denouncements against their male partners.
Such denouncements are key in prevention of crimes of passion that have seen 1,028 women murdered by partners – current or ex – since records began in 2003.
The concept was sparked by Denia’s Civil Protection department as they brainstormed how to reach the 80% of women who are killed without having made any prior contact with police.
A total of 70 magazines were then distributed among 18 hairdressers, gyms and social spaces in the Marina Alta capital, according to revelations of the scheme made in the wake of Monday’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
“Silence is lethal to the life of these abused women, and any formula that improves their approach to the police, the courts and making denouncements helps to combat this social scourge,” a spokesperson for the department said.
The project was a total secret up until this week, when the magazines were retrieved and results published.
“The great reception of this initiative has allowed the project to continue expanding the number and type of establishments willing to collaborate with this cause,” the spokesperson continued.
“Of course, the design of the magazine has been completely modified to continue guaranteeing the safety of the victims.”
The spokesperson explained that a glossy women’s magazine was an ideal vehicle for dissemination of information on domestic violence – more properly ‘gender violence’, as Spanish law has tougher laws against male violence against female partners.
At risk women are, however, understood to be too scared to talk, make internet searches or pick up leaflets on how to access help for fear of violent reprisals.
The magazine – featuring pictures of fashion, exercise and healthy recipes alongside unrelated text – camouflages phone numbers, interesting facts, advice and testimonials from other women to encourage abused women into making denouncements.
The Unidad Artemis announced it will begin training staff at establishments where it deposits its secret magazines to detect the symptoms of domestic abuse.