|Violence in relationships should never be tolerated! Yet, 7 out of 10 women in Uruguay say they have suffered gender-based violence in their lifetime. Women between 19 and 29 years old, women of African descent, and women living in the southeast of the country are those most affected by violence, according to the OECD Social Institutions and Gender Index.
Recognising the seriousness of the problem, Uruguay’s President Tabaré Vázquez declared a state of emergency in December 2019. He stressed that,
“…the State, social organizations, and each and every one of the members of community, particularly men, have the obligation to review everyday behaviours [… and] ways of expressing emotions and affections”.
The President’s declaration builds on other efforts by public institutions in Uruguay. In 2016, Inmujeres (the Women’s Institute), part of the Ministry of Social Development, launched a campaign called “Noviazgos libres de violencia” – i.e. “Relationships free of violence”.
The campaign lasts for 50 days each year and targets teenagers and young people. It features social media content, workshops, stands and shows. The Ministry reports that in its first three cycles from 2016-2018, more than 450 activities reached more than 38,000 young people. More than 77,200 heard audio messages while visiting municipal government offices in Montevideo.
The campaign also comprises events broadcast live on national television. During its fourth cycle in October and November 2019, the campaign included concerts by popular artists Portadores del Hip Hop, Valeria Gau, La Mojigata and Senda 7.
The campaign was mentioned in Uruguay’s 2017 Voluntary National Review (VNR) on progress in achieving the SDGs. According to the VNR, the initiative is designed to “promote the participation of adolescents…in the generation of actions that encourage reflection, awareness, and promotion of violence-free courtships”.
According to the 2018 Latinobarometro, 75% of women and 71% of men in Uruguay believe that domestic violence against women is the type of violence most harmful to the development of the country, second only to domestic violence against children.