Pope: Femicides in Latin America a scourge that must stop

Source: Associated Press

BY  NICOLE WINFIELD and CHRISTINE ARMARIO

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TRUJILLO, Peru (AP) — Pope Francis denounced femicides and other gender-based crimes that have turned Latin America into the most violent place on Earth for women, calling Saturday for legislation to protect them and a new cultural mindset as he visited one of Peru’s most dangerous parts.

At a Marian prayer in the northern seaside city of Trujillo, Francis called women, mothers and grandmothers the guiding force for families. And yet, he said, in the Americas they are too often victims of murder and “many situations of violence that are kept quiet behind so many walls.”

The first Latin American pope called for lawmakers to protect women and for a new culture “that repudiates every form of violence.” His remarks came the same day large crowds marched throughout the United States and other countries in support of female empowerment.

Francis’ use of the term femicide — the killing of women where the motive is directly related to gender— marked the second time in as many days that he has spoken out against “machismo” culture in Latin America. The region has the dubious honor of having the world’s highest rates of violence against women occurring outside romantic partnerships, and the second-highest within.

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