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Mexican men ask for an end to violence against women

December 4, 2008 | 10:17 am

Mujer_ejecutiva_hcv_2Posters such as the one here popped up on bus stops and billboards along my route to work across central Mexico City last week.

They feature men well known in Mexico -- journalists, sports personalities, actors and singers -- asking that their fellow males stop beating up and abusing women.

The captions on this poster say: "From man to man, more respect, let's learn to listen to and work with women. Let's be more fair, more like men," and "Punches? Against a woman? Never!"

The campaign is being run by the National Women's Institute in conjunction with last week's International Day of the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Now, it is great to see men on the side of treating women fairly in Mexico. Amnesty International reports that nearly one in every four women in Mexico has suffered either physical or sexual aggression at the hands of an intimate partner. Some of the posters for this campaign claim that one in every two women is a victim of physical, emotional or sexual violence.

But it's interesting that the minds behind this campaign chose to put men at the front of it. Do Mexican men need to be told by other Mexican men to stop beating up and abusing women? Is it not enough that women denounce the high levels of abuse and violence against females all the time? Apparently not.   

The idea behind the campaign, says the accompanying press release, is to fortify values and attitudes that favor eliminating violent behavior toward women and discrimination against them. But the message that some might take away from this is that only men have the necessary weight and authority to do so.

The campaign is running on television, radio, print media, public transportation and the Internet and in other major cities across the country until Dec. 31.

-- Deborah Bonello in Mexico City

Photo: A poster from an advertising campaign called "Men Against the Violence" from the National Women's Institute in Mexico. Credit: National Women's Institute website, http://www.inmujeres.gob.mx

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