Violence against women and girls and its most extreme expression, femicide, feminicide, or the gender-related killing of women and girls,1 dramatically bring to light the persistence of the structural challenges of gender inequality and gender-based discrimination and violence against women and girls in Latin America and the Caribbean. The deep historical and structural roots of patriarchal, discriminatory and violent cultural patterns, grounded in a culture of privilege, have proven among the most difficult to dismantle.
Gender-based violence against women and girls is systemic and persistent in the region. It knows no borders, affects women and girls of all ages and happens everywhere, from the domestic setting to public places. It happens in workplaces, within the framework of political and community participation, on public transportation and in the street, in schools and other educational institutions, in cyberspace and certainly in the home. The Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, has called it a “shadow pandemic”.