Last weekend, people once again flooded the streets of downtown Madrid, this time to demonstrate against gender violence. In an event dubbed “7N” (an allusion to the date of the protest, November 7), roughly 20,000-30,000 people from all over Spain came together and occupied central Madrid to denounce gender violence and demand that the government treat the issue as a greater priority. Despite existing Spanish laws against domestic violence, various organizations, like Doctors of the World, consider the state's current enforcement measures to be insufficient.
The so-called “state march” turned into an unprecedented feminist demonstration, organized by over 400 groups composed of people from all over the country and representatives of most of Spain's political parties.
Demonstrators’ main message addressed the country's political parties, demanding urgent action against murders resulting from patriarchal violence (“violencia machista”). This wave of violence has included the abuse of partners, children, and transgender individuals, and is estimated to have claimed the lives of more than 1,300 people in Spain in the past 20 years, according to protesters. In 2015 alone, there have been more than 80 crimes of this nature—41 of which were committed against women by their partners or ex-partners, according to feminicidio.net, a website that provides visibility and collects data on patriarchal violence in Spain. In a message to readers, Feminicidio stressed the preserve the memory of those who have been murdered:
Desde que empezamos a documentar los asesinatos de mujeres en el 2010 hasta ahora, hemos registrado 648 casos. En nuestra base de datos, Geofeminicidio (la máquina de la memoria), el feminicidio es un relato ausente de vidas inacabadas de mujeres. Detrás de los datos, hay un trabajo de preservación de la memoria histórica de las mujeres asesinadas por violencia de género. Un deseo de no olvidar, un duelo silencioso puesto en común. Participamos de la marcha del 7N convencidas de que no podemos claudicar a la utopía de erradicar el feminicidio y las violencias machistas.
Since we began documenting the murders of women in 2010, we have registered 648 cases. In our database, Geofeminicidio (the machine of memory), feminicide is a story absent from the unfinished lives of women. Behind the data, there's the need to preserve the memory of the women murdered by gender violence. A wish to not forget, a silent duel brought together. We participate in the 7N march, convinced that we cannot give up the utopia of eradicating feminicide and domestic violence.
With hashtags like #TerrorismoMachista (Sexist Terrorism), #CuestiónEstado (State Matter), #PactoEstado (State Pact), #NosFaltanTodas (We Need Them All), #NiUnaMenos (Not One Less), #7Noviembre (November 7), and #MarchaContraViolenciasMachistas (March Against Patriarchal Violence), the demonstrations moved from the streets to social networks. Notably absent on the day of the mass demonstration in Madrid was the ruling party, the People's Party (Partido Popular), which previously opposed the march.
Ahora Madrid, the citizen collective now in charge of Madrid's city council, pointed it out with the following tweet:
— Ahora Madrid (@AhoraMadrid) noviembre 6, 2015
Aside from the People's Party, the rest of the groups welcome the #7N organizers.
Below is a video of the march by the newspaper Diagonal:
Support for the demonstrators has been wide, so far, and the media covered the protest extensively. Not everyone was pleased with that coverage, however, and some people vented their frustration on Twitter. For example, @fanetin criticizes overuse of the word “allegedly” in news reports about the harm committed against victims of domestic violence:
Message to the “allegedly died” journalists: Take note or be complicit.
Molaría que hoy los medios dejaran de enfocar las noticias en que ellas denuncien, en vez de en que ellos no maltraten. #7NFeminista
— HIβΑΙ (@Hibai_) noviembre 7, 2015
It'd be great if today the media stopped focusing the news on women denouncing [the violence], and instead focused on men not inflicting it.
Many euphemisms when writing about MURDERS resulting from domestic violence against women, the same indifference to (not) having #7N on the front page
Even at a moment like this, when feminists can take pride in the broad support displayed for the protest against patriarchal violence, the mood is hardly celebratory. Just 72 hours after the 7N rally, four cases of suspected domestic violence were reported across Spain. Sadly, the threat of such violence remains as present as ever.