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El Salvador

The Health Impacts of Violence Perpetrated by Police, Military and Other Public Security Forces on Gay, Bisexual and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men in El Salvador

Citation:

Davis, Dirk A., Giuliana J. Morales, Kathleen Ridgeway, Modesto Mendizabal, Michele Lanham, Robyn Dayton, Juana Cooke, Karin Santi and Emily Evens. 2020. “The Health Impacts of Violence Perpetrated by Police, Military and Other Public Security Forces on Gay, Bisexual and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men in El Salvador.” Culture, Health & Sexuality 22 (2): 217-32.

Authors: Dirk A. Davis, Giuliana J. Morales, Kathleen Ridgeway, Modesto Mendizabal, Michele Lanham, Robyn Dayton, Juana Cooke, Karin Santi, Emily Evens

Abstract:

Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men face both high levels of violence and a disproportionate burden of poor health outcomes. We explored violence perpetrated against Salvadoran gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men by public security forces; perceived motivations of violence; and impacts on health. We conducted structured qualitative interviews with 20 participants and used systematic coding and narrative analysis to identify emergent themes. Nearly all participants described the physical, emotional, sexual and/or economic violence by public security forces. Most attributed being targeted to their gender expression and/or perceived sexual orientation. The most common impact was emotional distress, including humiliation, fear and depression; lasting physical injuries were also widely reported. Study participants felt unable to report these incidents for fear of retribution or inaction. Men reported feelings of helplessness and distrust, avoidance of authorities and altering when, where or how often they appeared in public spaces. Programmes and interventions should focus on providing mental health services for LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) victims of violence, educating public security forces on the legal rights of Salvadorans and expanding current LGBTI-inclusive policies to all public security forces.

Keywords: violence, men who have sex with men, police, military, El Salvador

Topics: Gender, Men, Health, Mental Health, LGBTQ, Male Victims, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Security, Sexuality, Sexual Violence, SV against men, Violence Regions: Americas, Central America Countries: El Salvador

Year: 2020

Women and 'New Wars' in El Salvador

Citation:

Applebaum, Anna, and Briana Mawby. 2018. “Women and ‘New Wars’ in El Salvador.” Stability: International Journal of Security & Development 7 (1): 1-15.

Authors: Anna Applebaum, Briana Mawby

Abstract:

The most violent countries in the world are increasingly countries considered ‘at peace’. From Honduras to Mexico to South Africa, armed violence, often by gangs, has led to high levels of casualties. Disruption of daily life due to armed violence is similar to the challenges experienced during wartime, though often without the markers or recognition associated with war. With gang violence primarily viewed as a domestic criminal issue, external support for conflict mitigation and humanitarian assistance is often low. Yet the disruptive impact of such high rates of violence is significant, and the humanitarian impact is severe. New theoretical frameworks are needed to better problematize extreme armed violence in ‘peacetime’ states. This article seeks to bring an understanding of the severity of armed violence in states such as El Salvador into engagement with the critical and theoretical foundations of the women, peace and security (WPS) field. Gendered dynamics shape gang violence in El Salvador, and a gender lens helps reimagine its impact. Aligning critical theory with the lived experience of this subset of armed conflict allows new directions for engagement and, in particular, offers the opportunity to re-examine long-standing assumptions of what initiates, maintains, and challenges armed violence by non-state actors in communities considered ‘at peace.’ This article seeks to encourage greater debate and scholarship to inform our understandings of armed conflict and gender in communities affected by gang violence, such as those in El Salvador. In these communities, the level of violence often replicates the experiences of war, and thus a WPS lens is a critical tool for analysis. 

Topics: Armed Conflict, "New Wars", Gender, Humanitarian Assistance, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-state Armed Groups, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, Violence Regions: Americas, Central America Countries: El Salvador

Year: 2018

Aftermath: Women and Women’s Organizations In Postconflict Societies: The Role of International Assistance

Citation:

Kumar, Krishna. 2001. Aftermath: Women and Women’s Organizations In Postconflict Societies: The Role of International Assistance. 28. U.S. Agency for International Development, Washington, DC.

Author: Krishna Kumar

Annotation:

Summary: 
Since the end of the Cold War, intrastate conflicts have increased worldwide. Poverty, the struggle for scarce resources, declining standards of living, ethnic rivalries and divisions, political repression by authoritarian governments, and rapid social and economic modernization—all these factors contribute to intrastate conflicts. All intrastate conflicts share a set of common characteristics that have major implications for women and gender relations. First, the belligerent parties deliberately inflict violence on civilian populations. Second, the intrastate conflicts displace substantial numbers of people, mostly women and children. Third, women’s participation in war contributes to the redefinition of their identities and traditional roles. Fourth, there is usually a conscious attempt to destroy the supporting civilian infrastructure, leading to increased poverty and starvation. Finally, these conflicts leave among the belligerent groups within the countries a legacy of bitterness, hatred, and anger that is difficult to heal.

Both men and women suffer from such conflicts. This study examines specifically the effects on women in six casestudy countries: Cambodia, Bosnia, El Salvador, Georgia, Guatemala, and Rwanda. It looks as well at the rise of indigenous women’s organizations—their role, their impact, their future. Teams from USAID’s Center for Development Information and Evaluation visited those countries during 1999. They found the effects of war on women to fall into three broad categories: Social and psychological. Women often were traumatized by the conflict. After the hostilities, many feared for their physical safety. During the early phases of postconflict transition, unemployed militia continued to pose a serious threat to the lives and property of women and children. Fear of violence and sexual abuse (rape had actually been used as a tool of war, to subjugate, humiliate, terrorize) often kept women from moving about freely. Abject conditions in many postconflict societies contributed to the growth of prostitution.

Economic. A major problem was lack of property rights. Women were denied ownership of land their dead husbands or parents had owned. Rural women who owned no land or other assets worked as laborers or sharecroppers, at minimal wages. Urban women carved out livings mostly by selling foods and household items. During conflict, women could work in many occupations. As ex-combatants returned to civilian life, though, female workers were the first to lose their jobs.

Political. In the absence of men, all six countries witnessed an expansion of women’s public roles during the conflict. Women volunteered in churches, schools, hospitals, and private charities. They often took charge of political institutions, enhancing their political skills—and raising their expectations.

The conflicts created a ripe environment for the emergence or growth of women’s organizations. For one thing, the wars undermined the traditional social order; women found it easier to take part in public affairs. Moreover, governmental reforms after the wars created political space to launch women’s organizations. Another factor was disillusionment. During or in the immediate aftermath of the wars, women’s expectations of increased political participation had risen. Those expectations were never fully realized. Finally, the readiness of the international community to provide assistance to such organizations contributed to their growth.

In the case-study countries, women’s organizations have been active in virtually all sectors: social, educational, economic, political. They have established health clinics, provided reproductive health care, organized mass vaccination programs. They have carried out programs to generate income and employment for women, emphasizing microcredit and vocational training. They have grappled with domestic violence, prostitution, and the plight of returning refugees and internally displaced women. And they have promoted democracy and human rights, supported social reconciliation, and worked to increase women’s participation in political affairs.

International assistance has been important to the development of women’s organizations—and will be far into the foreseeable future. Beyond financial support, international bodies have helped indigenous women acquire managerial, accounting, and technical skills. International assistance has also helped legitimize women’s organizations, for example by sheltering them from government interference.

Attending the emergence of women’s organizations is an array of obstacles. They are social and cultural, imposed from without, and organizational, imposed from within. Chief among the former is women’s low social status. At the family, community, and national levels, women confront a lack of support for their public activities. Another outside encumbrance is the short-term nature of international assistance, which prevents long-term planning. Chief among internal obstacles is the reluctance of women leaders to delegate authority and to train junior staff for future leadership. There is, moreover, a lack of communication and sharing among organizations.

The six individual CDIE country evaluations yielded a number of recommendations aimed at making assistance to women’s organizations more effective. Among them: 
1. Build on women’s economic and political gains. Because the postconflict era provides an opening to build on the progress made by women during conflict, it makes sense for USAID to continue to capitalize on this opportunity. 
2. Pay greater attention to civilian security. USAID can assume a leadership role in publicizing the problem of civilian security and the need for concerted action to protect women. The Agency can also encourage other organizations to carry out programs that can enhance physical security for women.
3. Make concerted efforts with the rest of the international community to prevent sexual abuse of women. Measures might include protecting witnesses, training international peacekeepers in gender issues, and promoting more women to international judicial posts.
4. Promote microcredit. USAID should support microcredit programs but not ignore their limitations. They are not cures for all economic problems facing women in postconflict societies.
5. Support property rights for women. USAID should continue supporting property-rights reforms affecting women. This should include not only constitutional and legislative reforms but also their effective implementation.
6. Consider multiyear funding. The assurance of assistance for periods longer than 6–9 months will help build institutional capacity and boost staff morale.
7. Promote sustainability of women’s organizations. USAID could provide technical assistance, when necessary, to improve management; consider funding a portion of core costs, in addition to program costs, for a limited period; and help organizations become self-reliant by such means as improving skills in advocacy, fundraising, networking, and coalition.
8. Promote greater women’s participation in elections. USAID should consider steps to encourage political parties to field women candidates and assist women candidates on a nonpartisan basis.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Civil Society, Displacement & Migration, Economies, Poverty, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Governance, Elections, Health, Trauma, International Organizations, Livelihoods, Political Participation, Rights, Land Rights, Security, Sexual Violence, SV against women, Violence Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, Americas, Central America, Asia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe, South Caucasus Countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Cambodia, El Salvador, Georgia, Guatemala, Rwanda

Year: 2001

El Salvador - A Peace Worse than War: Violence, Gender, and a Failed Legal Response

Citation:

Musalo, Karen. 2018. "El Salvador - A Peace Worse than War: Violence, Gender, and a Failed Legal Response." Yale Journal of Law and Feminism 30 (3): 3-97. 

Author: Karen Musalo

Abstract:

After twelve years of violent conflict, the bloody civil war in El Salvador came to an end in January 1992 with the signing of peace agreements and, ultimately, comprehensive Peace Accords. During the conflict between the Frente Farabundo Marti para la Liberaci6n Nacional (FMLN) [Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front] and the government, at least seventy-five thousand people were killed, seven thousand were "disappeared," and five hundred thousand were displaced. The great majority of these abuses were committed by the Salvadoran government, which received more than $5 billion in assistance from the United States.

Annotation:

Summary: 
"This article explores explanations for the high levels of violence, including gender violence and femicides, in El Salvador. It examines how the conditions that preceded, accompanied, and have followed the civil war may explain the violence that has engulfed contemporary El Salvador. Within that context, this article focuses particularly on violence against women; it looks at the response to gendered violence in the forms of laws and governmental institutions and evaluates their impact - if any - in reducing the multiple types of violence against women, including gender-motivated killings. The article draws not only on an extensive review of the literature analyzing the situation in El Salvador prior to and following the armed conflict, but also on information gathered from in-depth interviews of Salvadoran experts. 25 Given the dearth and unreliability of published information regarding violence against women in El Salvador, discussed infra, the insights and analyses from in-country experts are essential to presenting a fuller picture of the reality. Part I provides an overview of the historical context relevant to the current situation in El Salvador, looking principally at significant events in the twentieth century. It examines how a confluence of factors - including structural violence, economic inequalities, social exclusion, the proliferation of gangs and organized crime, and a culture of patriarchy dating from the Spanish Conquest - have given rise to contemporary levels of violence, including gender-based violence. Part II presents information on the societal levels of violence, including violence against women and girls, drawing connections between historical and socio-political factors and the contemporary explosion of violence. Part III discusses the legal framework addressing violence against women that has been under development in El Salvador since 1996. It details the inadequacy of the laws, as well as the significant barriers to implementation arising from deeply entrenched institutional resistance to gender equality, which has led to, among other problems, insufficient funding for the laws' implementation and virtual impunity for the failure of governmental officials to carry out their responsibilities under the laws. An objective and key contribution of this article is to substantiate the links between the historical origins of violence and the magnitude of gender violence in El Salvador today. Finally, the Conclusion offers some overarching observations and recommendations drawn from the many Salvadoran activists who have committed themselves to a long struggle to achieve justice and equality for women" (Musalo 2018, 7-8).

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Economies, Economic Inequality, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Gender Equality/Inequality, Governance, Justice, Impunity, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence, Violence Regions: Americas, Central America Countries: El Salvador

Year: 2018

Derecho a la tierra y empoderamiento económico de las mujeres rurales en El Salvador

Citation:

Navas, Candelaria. 2015. “Derecho a la tierra y empoderamiento económico de las mujeres rurales en El Salvador.” Serie Documentos de Trabajo 159, Grupo de Trabajo: Desarrollo con Cohesión Territorial, Programa: Impactos a Gran Escala, RIMISP, Santiago, Chile.

Author: Candelaria Navas

Topics: Gender, Women, Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Americas, Central America Countries: El Salvador

Year: 2015

Whose Risks? Gender and the Ranking of Hazards

Citation:

Becker, Per. 2011. “Whose Risks? Gender and the Ranking of Hazards.” Disaster Prevention & Management 20 (4): 423–33. doi:10.1108/09653561111161743.

Author: Per Becker

Abstract:

Purpose
– The purpose of this paper is to examine if gendered differences in risk perception automatically mean that women and men rank the hazards of their community differently, focusing any risk reduction measures on the priority risks of only part of the population.
 
Design/methodology/approach
– The study applies survey research through structured personal interviews in three municipalities in El Salvador. The data are analysed using SPSS to find statistically significant associations.
 
Findings
– It was found that there are no significant differences between the ranking of hazards of women and men in the studied communities. However, several other parameters have significant associations with the ranking of hazards, indicating that there are more dividing lines than gender that may influence priorities of risk reduction initiatives.
 
Research limitations/implications
– A quantitative study can only indicate how gender and other parameters influence the ranking of hazards. In order to understand why, it must be complemented with qualitative research.
 
Practical implications
– This study indicates that it is vital to communicate with and invite as wide a group of people as possible to participate in the risk reduction process. Not only women and men, but representatives with various livelihoods, income levels, level of education, locations of their dwellings, etc. If not, there is a danger that vital needs and opinions are left out and community commitments to risk reduction measures limited.
 
Originality/value
– The paper presents a new pragmatic argument for wider participation in disaster risk reduction to policy makers and practitioners in the field.

Keywords: El Salvador, Community planning, Risk perception, Risk reduction, gender, Perception, Hazard ranking

Topics: Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Women, Men, Gender Analysis, Intersectionality Regions: Americas, Central America Countries: El Salvador

Year: 2011

Untapped Resources for Peace: A Comparative Study of Women’s Organizations of Guerrilla Ex-Combatants in Colombia and El Salvador

Citation:

Dietrich Ortega, Luisa Maria. 2015. “Untapped Resources for Peace: A Comparative Study of Women’s Organizations of Guerrilla Ex-Combatants in Colombia and El Salvador.” In Female Combatants in Conflict and Peace, edited by Seema Shekhawat, 232–49. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK.

Author: Luisa Maria Dietrich Ortega

Abstract:

Over the past decades, the international community has increased efforts to enhance spaces of women’s meaningful participation in all spheres of conflict to post-conflict transition. The acknowledgement of women as essential actors for sustainable peace has prompted advocacy activities to include women in planning, implementing and monitoring of peace-building efforts. Despite significant advances in the field, the challenge remains to overcome stereotypical notions that associate women as passive bystanders or only as bearers of the violent consequences of armed conflicts, while ignoring the role women play as political actors. A step towards a more inclusive and holistic transition consists of exploring contributions the female actors in armed conflict can bring to peace-building. Female ex-combatants have played active political and military roles in insurgent organizations. Besides their first-hand experience in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programmes, some of them maintain connections with former insurgent groups and may influence processes from within. In that sense, organizations of female ex-combatants constitute an untapped resource for the promotion of gender-responsive transitions. (Abstract from Springer)

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, DDR, Gender, Women, Peacebuilding, Political Participation, Post-Conflict Regions: Americas, Central America, South America Countries: Colombia, El Salvador

Year: 2015

Western Hemisphere: A Survey of Gender Budgeting Efforts

Citation:

Perez Fragoso, Lucia, and Corina Rodriguez Enriquez. 2016. “Western Hemisphere: A Survey of Gender Budgeting Efforts.” IMF Working Paper No. 16/153. Washington, D.C.: International Monetary Fund.

Authors: Lucia Perez Fragoso, Corina Rodriguez Enriquez

Abstract:

Gender budgeting is an approach to fiscal policy and administration that integrates considerations of women's equality and advancement into the budget. Latin American countries have undertaken diverse gender budgeting initiatives, most of them addressing public expenditures. This paper surveys and assesses some key initiatives, including those in Mexico, Mexico City, Ecuador, Bolivia, and El Salvador, and briefly summarizes others. The five key initiatives offer different perspectives on how countries approach gender budgeting. We find that these initiatives are contributing to the reduction of gender inequality and the advancement of women in Latin America, though there is scope to strengthen them.

Keywords: gender budgeting, Fiscal Policy & Administration, Latin America, gender inequality

Topics: Gender, Women, Gender Budgeting, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality Regions: Americas, Central America, North America, South America Countries: Bolivia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico

Year: 2016

Not Necessarily Solidarity: Dilemmas of Transnational Advocacy Networks Addressing Violence against Women

Citation:

Walsh, Shannon Drysdale. 2016. “Not Necessarily Solidarity: Dilemmas of Transnational Advocacy Networks Addressing Violence against Women.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 18 (2): 248–69. doi:10.1080/14616742.2015.1008246.

Author: Shannon Drysdale Walsh

Abstract:

Since the idea of “women's rights as human rights” emerged, there has been a wave of international donors, organizations and transnational feminist activists successfully delivering pressure and resources in the struggle to mitigate violence against women worldwide. Through these transnational networks, decisions regarding which local problems to address and how to manage them are often made at the international level. Most scholarship has rightly celebrated the advances for women's rights that have been made possible due to the impact of international organizations and transnational advocacy networks. However, there are many dilemmas that arise from this North-centric approach to assigning and managing priorities – especially among development aid organizations. Coordination with international donors is often necessary and has been a major source of advances. However, there are still some potentially harmful impacts of having to engage in these networks in order to address violence against women – including a disproportionate focus on short-term results while neglecting long-term goals. This article articulates these dilemmas and explains how international feminist human rights norms can be more successfully translated into a stronger sense of solidarity across borders and more sustainable advances for women. Examples are drawn from the Central American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua.

Keywords: transnational advocacy networks, Violence against women, Central America, women's rights, human rights

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Women, Globalization, Humanitarian Assistance, International Organizations, NGOs, Political Participation, Rights, Human Rights, Women's Rights, Violence Regions: Americas, Central America Countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua

Year: 2016

Looking Beyond Violent Militarized Masculinities: Guerilla Gender Regimes in Latin America

Citation:

Dietrich Ortega, Luisa Maria. 2012. “Looking Beyond Violent Militarized Masculinities: Guerilla Gender Regimes in Latin America.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 14 (4): 489–507. doi:10.1080/14616742.2012.726094.

Author: Luisa Maria Dietrich Ortega

Abstract:

This article moves beyond stereotypical portrayals of the connections between hyper-masculinity and violence in militarized contexts and identifies expressions of insurgent masculinities different from the imagery of ‘heroic guerrilla fighter’. Based on conversations with fifty female and male former insurgent militants in Peru, Colombia and El Salvador, this comparative analysis explores patterns within gender regimes created in insurgent movements. This contribution shows that ‘gender’ is not merely a ‘side contradiction’, but that guerrilla movements invest considerable efforts in creating and managing gender relations. The construction of insurgent masculinities is not based on the rejection or devaluation of women in general, but requires diluting gendered dichotomies, enabling not only alternative role models functional for armed struggle, but also female–male bonding, prioritizing comrade identity over gender-binary consciousness.

Keywords: 'female comrade', gender regime, guerilla, Latin America, masculinities

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries Regions: Americas, Central America, South America Countries: Colombia, El Salvador, Peru

Year: 2012

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