International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Believe survivors. Act Now. Claudinna's Story, Argentina

"There is a history of violence that enables naturalized practices. There are no concrete avenues for complaints.”, says Claudinna. “We [trans] are the last in line.”

Date: Monday, November 22, 2021

photo shows a group of people marching with one person holding the microphone and the people behind holding a large banner in the colors of transgender flag (pastel blue and pastel pink)
Marching at "Ni Una Menos". Credit: Fernada Rotondo/Fundación Andhes.

Every 35 hours, a woman is killed in Argentina.[1] Cisgender, lesbian and transgender (CLT) women all face high levels of stigma, marginalization and violence, and their access to justice is limited. For Claudinna, a trans woman survivor of violence in Tucúman, Argentina, filing complaints of violence to the police almost systematically leads to more violence, and almost never to justice.

According to Claudinna, “the police took on the role of judges and decide [which] complaints are taken.” For many trans woman survivors like Claudinna, local women’s rights organizations have become their first point of contact.

Supported by a small grant from the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund) under the Spotlight Initiative, Fundación Andhes[2] is running a project in Tucumán and Jujuy provinces to address the intersecting discrimination and violence against women and provides legal support in cases of institutional violence against marginalized groups.

two photos on top of the transgender flag showing the images of transgender women murdered in Argentina as part of the march
Photo at the march "Justicia por Ayelén". Credit: Fernanda Rotondo/Fundación Andhes.

In the first year of the project, measures taken to curb the spread of COVID-19 have had dire consequences for women and girls. María Fernanda Rotondo, Project Coordinator from Fundación Andhes, explained:

“There was an increase in domestic violence because of the lack of work and money, and being confined with the aggressor… [Many women] do not have formal jobs, so they had to go out to find a way to make money and help their families.”

She added that all forms of violence against women increases, including femicide, and that when women try to report it, they are met with more institutional violence.

Transgender women have also been affected particularly badly during lockdowns, said Rotondo, as many rely on sex work for income and have faced increased risks of police abuse. Additionally, transgender women have been unable to access pandemic-related financial support offered by the state to the unemployed and informal workers because they lack the required documentation to be eligible.

an indigenous woman beneficiary of UN Trust Fund grantee ANDHES holding a sign that reads si a la vida q' tambien es la otra
Training with indigenous women. Credit: Ana Daneri/Fundación Andhes.

In response to the additional challenges posed by the pandemic, Fundación Andhes and its partner CLADEM, an international network of women’s organizations and activists, adapted their work by:

  • creating virtual spaces for regular updates between CLT women referents and Fundación Andhes’s technical team;
  • strengthening access to services so that cases of violence can still be monitored; and
  • ensuring that information about Fundación Andhes’s support services including for women who have survived or are at risk of violence reach those in need.

For Claudinna, Fundación Andhes not only provides legal assistance to those in need, but also a safe space for CLT women to share their stories and experiences which will inform the organization’s advocacy strategy to influence structural change. She says:

“There is greater visibility of the problem, based on collective work and struggles. Change is brewing.”

 

 

[1] Registro Nacional de Femicidios de la Justicia Argentina, Edición 2020. Accessed: November 22, 2021. https://www.csjn.gov.ar/omrecopilacion/docs/informefemicidios2020.pdf

[2] In Spanish: Abogados y abogadas del Noroeste argentino en Derechos Humanos y estudios sociales