Published in El Pais, June 29th 2019.
Violence is a latent problem in Latin America, particularly intrafamily violence against women and against children. According to CEPALSTAT of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, Latin America has high rates of intrafamily violence despite legislation to protect people in each country. The acceptance of violence against women or children is due to a culture of violence practices where it is normal to punish, mistreat, beat and rape.
For women, for example, machismo and violence turns their home into a dangerous place or their romantic relationships into a source of panic. According to UNICEF, in Latin America there are 14 of the 25 countries with the highest number of femicides in the world. Only in 4 months of 2019, 1199 femicides occurred in Mexico and 55 in Bolivia. The per capita rate of femicides per 100,000 inhabitants is 10 in El Salvador, 5 in Honduras and Belize, 2 in Bolivia and Paraguay. In many countries there is impunity due to the enormous delay of justice. In Honduras, for example, more than 85% of femicides remain unpunished, in Bolivia 75%.
It is important that the private company supports actions to reduce violence as part of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). It has been shown that the source of employment is an adequate place to reduce or eliminate sexist and violence practices because access to work improves living conditions and gives more freedom to women. It has also been shown that the actions of the company at a social level (CSR) can be a source of prevention and reduction of violence. Many countries do not have provisions to prevent or protect victims of violence.
First, research institutions could determine the best national practices to address and reduce violence. Then, as part of the CSR action, actions can be taken to orient and prevent violence. Aspects such as customs and cultural practices that naturalize violence, the promotion of equal treatment to eliminate historical inequality and of male-female or adult-child power, and aspects of masculinity in education.
Companies benefit from CSR. First, it improves the welfare of your employees who can work better and be more productive. Second, the number of employees with medical leave or death due to violence will be lower. Third, a reduction in violence reduces teen pregnancies, child marriages and HIV infections or other diseases. Finally, if society is less violent, there are peaceful relations that improve the quality of social life, promote economic improvement and reduce poverty.