For this post, I would like to discuss how the Uruguayan legal and social system deals with violence against women. I found that women who have been victims of domestic violence for years, and then harm or kill their abuser are not allowed to use the domestic violence in their defense in the courts. A woman’s inability to use her abuse in her defense is justified by prejudices of women’s hysterical nature.
On the other hand, a husband or boyfriend who harms or kills his partner under suspicion of adultery or the woman’s desire to separate is not considered domestic violence and the man is allowed to use his suspicions of his partner in his defense. The crime is considered a crime of passion and a man’s defense of “honor.”
Uruguay law also absolves a man from any punishment for committing rape as long as he marries his victim. Perhaps what could explain such a horrifying notion is how Uruguayan law classifies rape, as “offences to customs and family order.” By this definition, the act of rape is a violation of the family, not the woman. Rape is not considered in terms of its effects on the woman and a violation of her most basic human rights, but how it effects and disrupts the family structure. By marrying his victim, the man is restoring family order. The woman is no longer disgraced but is a married woman, a respectable member of the family.