In 2012 Nicaragua became one of the 7 countries in Latin America that decided to recognize and condemn any type of violence against women. Its famous law 779, ‘ a comprehensive law on violence against women ‘ wanted to facilitate the recognition of different types of abuse that occurred primarily in the affective domain within an ancestral culture that positions the woman well below the male .

Various organizations have participated, and continue to do so, in the never-ending work of seeking a more just society in terms of equal opportunities, especially for women and children. Obviously, its effectiveness relies on numerous factors, including the expert training of its members and the effectiveness and consistency of its training and outreach programs that cover social and psychological fields, by supplying the appropriate tools to both strengthen their skills and find the means in which they can be developed.

Ana Patricia Martínez Corrales, Director of the Foundation for the Promotion and Development of Women and Children ( FUNDEMUNI ) explains this process towards social equality, based on a positive and progressive approach, building on what has been already accomplished and avoiding obsolete and ineffective archetypes. She stresses the desirability of deepening on the issue of inequality by covering all areas eventually involved in it. Thus the Foundation’s comprehensive and successful programs for women and girls, besides providing legal assistance, psychosocial support, etc., are also opened up to their demand for nutritional needs, the awareness of the right of women to have a say as far as their bodies are concerned, and to their participation in family and social decisions, and, of course, in politics.

Ana Patricia Martínez Corrales, Nicaraguan FUNDEMUNI organization, during a recent visit to Barcelona. Photo by Pablo Tosco / Oxfam Intermon.

Ana Patricia seeks, at all times during our interview, to focus her arguments on objective data, keeping clear of individual and subjective considerations. Her respect and love for Nicaragua can be felt all along with her desire and confidence that achieving a more just and equitable world is possible.

‘ You have to work out the individual aspects to reach the collective needs ‘, and this has to be done considering that you want to reach women and girls living in rural areas, because information arrives in a somewhat different form where patriarchy is a more established lifestyle.

Her work is hard, constant, often exhausting, but very consistent. ‘ No need to involve women only ‘. Their programs integrate dynamic young men working with masculinity as a distinct aspect from the macho ethos. With young women, they also work femininity as an aspect that does not require submission or resignation: ‘ It is important for them to know that they should not be manipulated on how to live their sexuality ‘.

But FUNDEMUNI is not an organization limited territorially or socially or politically. It is part, among others, of the National Network of Women Against Violence and, availing themselves of all the legal tools at their disposal, they report about the alarming rate of femicides that, far from diminishing, continue to increase in the absence of a firm and responsible involvement by the state. Ironically, it is the same state that considers them an important platform to facilitate the active participation of women in society.

Ana Patricia believes that the movements of women working for equity should stay away from partisan politics , but it is essential to work together with the authorities. Work on individual aspects is complex enough but more so is the collective reach. In the middle of both there are carefully studied strategies to improve the bills and even the laws themselves, with an aim to subvert the simplistic organization of the world, popular and convenient for many, that put men on one side and women on the other .

Law 779 was, is and will remain famous for all the effort, consistency, ethics and honesty of many women’s movements and organizations that fought to achieve equality without using the same aggressive and discriminatory resources that had ignored them in the first place.

When women’s organizations decided to evaluate law 230 that added specific reforms to prevent domestic violence and discovered its large loopholes by establishing that their former partners were excluded from its restrictions and could continue murdering and torturing with impunity, the National Network of Women Against Violence and various other movements presented in the National Assembly a bill covering those events and situations that had been ignored. This bill was not adopted and the Supreme Court presented its own draft. The women’s movements and organizations showed their civic and conciliatory will for reconciliation requesting that a draft with the best of the two proposals be submitted. In 2012 law 779 was passed but months later it was amended, to the surprise of many, this time introducing mediation, a contradiction in the context of domestic violence, because it argued women had the obligation to save the family unit.

Ana Patricia is aware that there is still hard work to be done, and that they must get used to the step back which will frequently follow some of the steps forward. This fact of life should not wipe out the achievements handed down to us by so many brave women and to which they have devoted much of their lives.

There are many men and women among us who believe that mediations are possible only when the parties involved are committed to equality, work from the standpoint of equality, having equality as their ultimate goal and share the same willingness in the act of mediation.

Women like Ana Patricia Martínez Corrales, Movements and Organizations like FUNDEMUNI, Maria Elena Cuadra, Women’s Network Against Violence, and so many others, continue to work while the world daydreams and fails to see another reality. They do not generate violence, they fight against it. Their work awakens people’s consciences and furthers reactions, sometimes in favor sometimes against. Admirable their perseverance so that the daughters of many parents may live a more just life.

Translated by Arturo Guillén