Impunity in violence against women, a scourge that still prevails in Venezuela

La impunidad en la violencia contra la mujer, un flagelo que aún prevalece en Venezuela


The year 2023 is closing with at least 169 murders of women related to gender violence, all of which occurred between January and October this year.Being this type of crime being the one that tops the list of statistics in Venezuela. Most of these crimes were carried out by the victims’ partners or relatives, according to the records of the NGO ‘Utopix.’

By: Yanitza Martínez // Correspondent

Today, November 25th, which marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, many Venezuelan women continue to be victims of gender violence, a situation that mostly is not reported due to fear of reprisals, psychological harassment and threats that end with fatal outcomes.

Although there are no official records on the incidence of crimes related to violence against women, added to the secrecy on the part of security agencies and courts about the subject, non-governmental organizations have taken charge of keeping statistics on these cases.

According to Utopix records, in the month of July alone, 18 cases of fatal violence were recorded, five of these were perpetrated in Lara State, one of the states with the highest incidence of this type of crime.

Wave of violence

In Aragua State, more than 60 female victims of violence have been reported to this date, making it the second most common crime against the female population in this central state of the country closely followed by sexual exploitation of children and adolescents.

As for Falcón, during 2023 the cases of gender violence increased in this entity, and of the ten crimes reported, two were femicides.

Information is still being collected by OVV in this region of western Venezuela that until September 2023:“witnessed an alarming wave of interpersonal violence” with a total of 24 crimes recorded. Ten of them were cases of violence against women committed by romantic partners or family members.

Furthermore, according to the records kept by the media in that state, violence against women occupies first place on the list of reported violent crimes.

One of the most tragic cases in Falcón was the murder of a 23-year-old young woman, recorded on Wednesday, September 23rd in Santa Ana de Coro. The woman was viciously stabbed, allegedly during the robbery of a business premises owned by her family. The commotion was so great that the Center for Social Studies for the Comprehensive Development and Empowerment of Women (CESDIEM) represented by Herkis Duno, expressed solidarity with her relatives.

The young woman’s relatives have demanded before the Criminal Judicial Circuit of this state that the pre-qualification of the crime of homicide in the execution of a robbery be changed to femicide, a crime without benefits and with a prison sentence ranging from 25 to 30 years.

This case once again brought to light the seriousness of these crimes in Falcón. Interpersonal violence, which includes gender violence and violence against children and adolescents, has reached alarming levels. Furthermore, the NGO OVV presents data that indicates that the majority of these crimes occurred in the homes of the victims or the perpetrator, which means that family and interpersonal conflicts are at the center of this crisis.

The State does not help

Guárico State is another entity that during 2023 has had a high incidence of gender violence. It is estimated that 40% of the deaths recorded in the month of October were women, with ten fatalities. Two murdered women and two deceased women as a result of police intervention appear on this red list.

Lara continues to top the statistics at the national level and is the entity with almost a dozen women murdered during the year 2023.

One of the cases that generated an impact in Lara State was the murder of Bárbara Naybeth Leal Rodríguez (34), who was murdered by her ex-partner, identified as Manuel José Gómez, who after committing the murder, took his own life, practically in front of the security officials, who were cordoning off the area of the event after a call made by the residents of 26th Street and Libertador Avenue in Barquisimeto.

The lawyer, expert in criminal law, Yaira Gómez, declared for the Lara newspaper ‘La Prensa’ that in this case of femicide-suicide, the rights of the unfortunate 34-year-old woman were violated, since she had sought police protection before the crime was committed, In fact, after she sought police protection and, faced with the refusal of the officers, she had to go back alone to her residence where she was killed by her ex-partner, who also had her three daughters whipped.

The law exists but it is not enforced

The ‘Organic Law on the Right of Women to a Life Free of Violence’ is the legislation that assists women who are victims of abuse and aggression. This, according to specialists in criminal law such as lawyer María José Parada, Director of the Law School of Yacambú University, is a legal instrument that covers sufficient legal and protective elements to confront the situation of gender violence in the country, but in her opinion, the State or its (law enforcement) representatives do not have sufficient gender perspective, nor are they prepared or trained to enforce the law.

In the case of Lara, although no official data was obtained, unofficially it was possible to learn about the degree of violence that occurred in the distant parishes or rural areas of the region, where dysfunctional homes predominate and due to the limitations of mobilization and access to municipal capitals, most do not report these cases to the security forces.

Although the Public Ministry has been emphatic in asking the female population to report every time they are victims, and not only of physical abuse, but also of verbal and psychological abuse, the majority of them prefer to remain silent since in a large number of cases, once complaints are filed, the perpetrators use their influence to get out of these situations and the cases go unpunished, even when the legislation is clear and forceful regarding this crime.