Spain mourns and protests after ‘revenge killings’ of women and children

by Lorraine Williamson
Spain mourns and protests against gender violence

Spain mourns as the streets in many cities were filled with demonstrative Spaniards over the weekend. Tenerife residents are in mourning and this sparked protests across Spain against one of the country’s biggest problems. 

In several Spanish cities there was mourning and protests against the violence of men against women and sometimes children. In Spain this is called gender violence or intimate partner violence. But for many years it has been referred to as domestic violence. Spanish politicians and organisations are doing their utmost to ban this form of violence. However, this problem is far from a thing of the past. 

Two sisters killed by vengeful father in Tenerife 

This was proved again last week when the terrible news that the lifeless body of one of the missing sisters was found at the bottom of the sea off Tenerife. Father Tomás Gimeno kidnapped the two sisters, Olivia, 6 and Anna, 1 at the end of April. He then informed the mother she would never see her girls again. The search for the body of the father and the youngest sister will continue on Monday. Although the Spanish police are unsure whether they will find them. 

At the moment, the Guardia Civil assumes that the man killed the girls and threw their bodies into the sea. He is said to have ended his own life from the boat that was found a few kilometres from the coast. All this as the ultimate revenge after the divorce of the girls’ mother. 

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Spain mourns and protests en masse 

Thousands of people took to the streets in several places in Spain to mourn together and to speak out against this form of violence. A minute of silence was held in Tenerife in memory of the two girls. Spaniards also reflected on this immense loss in other cities, such as Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Pamplona, ​​Toledo and Granada: “We must protect women and children from the violence of men. Enough is enough.” 

Letter from mother of Anna and Olivia 

Anna and Olivia’s mother distributed an open letter about the event involving her two daughters last weekend. According to her, Gimeno wanted her to suffer endlessly as she searched for her daughters. In the letter she writes she is grateful for all the support and messages she receives. In the letter she says she hopes that the death of ‘her angels’ will not be meaningless. No matter how much pain and anger she feels now, she wants to send the opposite message. That parents will treat each other more consciously, more lovingly and with more respect for each other and their children. 

Young woman killed by ex-boyfriend near Seville 

This is not the only recent incident. Earlier this month, 17-year-old Rocío Caíz from Estepa (Seville) disappeared. The Spanish newspaper El País wrote on June 11 that the young woman’s ex-boyfriend confessed to killing her and dismembering her body. 

How serious is gender violence in Spain? 

The Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia reported on Saturday that 19 women and 3 children have been killed as a result of gender violence this year. Official statistics from the Spanish government show that nearly 1,100 women in Spain have died at the hands of their partner or ex-partner since 2003. Since 2013, there have been 41 known cases in which children have also died as a result of this form of violence. 

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