In Argentina, every 24 hours, one woman dies as a victim of gender-based violence. Many of these deaths and physical aggressions have been caused by burns, and the women portrayed here have been burned by their partners.
Due to the increase of femicides, three massive nationwide demonstrations have been coordinated against gender-based violence since 2015, under the slogan #NiUnaMenos – “Not One Woman Less.” Gender violence-related NGOs affirm that “a female is 8 times more likely of being murdered by the people around her, even by someone in her home, than of dying in the hands of a stranger, in a robbery."
These cases usually go unpunished due to the habitual excuses and acquittals of the actual facts that occur in domestic violence. In November 2015, the Nation’s Supreme Court of Justice released the First National Registry of Femicides, recorded by the Argentine courts during 2014.
Burning aims at destroying the body: above all, destroying the skin, the sheath through which the body desires and becomes desirable. These abuses take place, for the most part, at home.
Karina Abregú (42 years old), lives in Merlo, Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina. In 2013, after an argument, her husband threw alcohol over her and lit her on fire. She had reported him many times to the police for beatings and abuse during her marriage.
“I have wounds from my pelvis up to my neck. He grabbed me, for me to burn harder”. The burns affected 55 percent of her body. Abregú lost the mobility of her arms and neck, and underwent many reconstructive surgeries. In 2015, her aggressor was sentenced to 11 years in prison. He continues to threaten her from jail.
At the end of 2011, Maira’s partner, the father of her two children, lit her on fire when they got home from a family party. “I tried to turn out the flames in the shower, but the water was not running,” she recalls . She was at hospital in an induced coma for two months. She underwent 52 reconstructive body surgeries, lost partial vision in right eye and total hearing in left ear. Her aggressor is free.
“I told him I didn’t want to live with a batterer any more”. “He dumped me in the hospital, all burnt up, without calling my family up”. Patricia Hernández (48 years old) lives in Luján, Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
On September 9, 2013, Patricia’s ex-husband tried to rape her and then lit her on fire.Although her ex-husband was sentenced to 15 years in prison, he still threatens her. The burns affected parts of her neck, chest and back. “When I get out, I’ll kill you”, he said to Patricia.