02/22/2013 11:53 am ET

Indigenous Women In Mexico Call For An End To Domestic Violence

A group of indigenous rarámuri women in Sierra Tarahumara, north of Mexico, have launched a campaign to stop the increasing violence they face daily, which in many cases is culturally accepted in their communities and involves physical, verbal, psychological and sexual aggression.

They are known as "las multiplicadoras" ("the multipliers") and their mission is to raise consciousness by educating men and women from the mountains of Chihuahua to reverse the pattern of abuse, program coordinator Vianney Salas said in an interview with Univision’s “Primer Impacto.”

"They come out different," Salas said. "They come out of this program understanding the right to have a life free of violence."

According to various studies, it is estimated that 90 percent of women in these communities have suffered some form of violence.

"I thought it was normal to be worth less than men," an indigenous woman said on the Univisión show. "I understand now that I have rights."

General director of the Chihuahua Women's Institute, Emma Lobera Saldaña said rarámuri women are being trained in violence prevention in over 30 different communities in the Sierra Tarahumara, and have more than 15 Tarahumaran volunteers dedicated to help increase knowledge about these issues among other females.

Meanwhile, the International Indigenous Women's Forum has worked since 1999 with indigenous women leaders representing Asia, Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Africa, North America, Europe and the Pacific regions to stop the growth of this phenomenon.

The organization's international work is based on the deep conviction of the need to coordinate and integrate strategies for the advancement of human rights of indigenous women locally, nationally and worldwide.

In Mexico, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) warned the issue of violence begins in childhood and in adulthood may result in prostitution, drug trafficking, suicide, school dropout, teenage mothers and other problems.

Mexican government figures revealed that in 2010 at least 329 girls under 18 were killed, one of the highest numbers in a decade. In 2011 approximately 693 girls went to prison for federal crimes, a figure that doubled since 2010. Some 34.6 percent of those criminal cases involved drug possession and consumption.



Tarahumara Indigenous Women