The truth lies, as usual, somewhere in between.
“The media are hugely important because what we don’t show doesn’t exist.”
Who: Martha Gomez
What: Journalist who for the last seven years has been broadcasting Tolerancia Cero (“Zero Tolerance”) a radio programme about violence against women.
The media were slowly starting to draw attention to the subject,” Marta tells us, “but it was still new for us. For a long time, the violence had been considered a private matter. We did not know how we could talk about it and at the same time show consideration to the families who had been affected.”
In her opinion, some of her colleagues were too aggressive at first, and the murders of women murders are still described in great detail in some of the commercial TV channels.
“They need to sell advertising time, so they show pictures of the victims, blood on the stairs and other such details in the hope of capturing viewers.”
She believes it is important for the government to continue to put money into campaigns. The number of Spanish women still being killed each year by a man close to them has hardly changed.
“But at least we are talking about it. The media are hugely important for this question, the public needs serious information. What we don’t show doesn’t exist.”
Marta’s show has been broadcast once a week for seven years. The majority of her listeners are women. Many are homosexual, others are active in women’s organisations and as social workers.
Her show was recently moved to a later slot, from 10pm to 1am, which Marta has accepted. No-one has yet talked about discontinuing Tolerancia Cero.
It is no longer just about violence, but also about equality and questions of discrimination.
Over the years the content of the programme has broadened so that it is no longer just about violence, but also about equality and questions of discrimination. When we meet Marta she is preparing that day’s recording of the week’s programme, which includes a discussion on the laws on prostitution, and another on the problem of violent men who have access rights to their children but who subject their children to violence.
“We talk about racism, violence against children, gypsies and people with disabilities, injustices at work, homosexuals ... we try to break the limits in many areas.”
Marta is in no doubt that awareness of violence has increased in the past few years. New national information campaigns are constantly appearing. The media continually report the latest figures on the number of Spanish women who have been killed by their husband or ex-husband. Most people knew the alarm number a woman who has been beaten should call.
Awareness of violence has increased in the past few years.
At the same time she is concerned about the lifestyle of young Spanish women. She herself is 39 years old, and was a teenager at a time when the climate in Spain was tougher, both economically and politically. Her father was an anarchist who fought against Franco and spent some time in prison. It was difficult for young people such as Marta to get on in society and to graduate from university.
“But my friends and I were still curious about what was happening in the rest of the world and we longed for change. Now we have a consumer society, and not many teenagers want to change the world. Why? I read about attitude surveys carried out among young girls to find out what they like in a man, and they answer that they are looking for a macho man with big muscles. I find that very worrying!”
Maternal deaths: 6 deaths per 100,000 births.
Number of children/woman: 1.47
Abortion legislation: Right to abortion up to the 14th week of pregnancy
Law against rape within marriage: Yes
Violence against women in close relationships: 400 incidents of violence against women are reported each day. 73 women were killed by their partner/husband during 2010.