This morning I read the tragic news of the death of a women in Spain at the hands of her ex partner. I feel for the victim’s family and friends and yet again hope that their suffering at this senseless crime will not be repeated. However the sad reality is that domestic violence is a fact of daily life for too many women throughout the world and the number of deaths of women caused by their current or ex partners shows no sign of abating. A link to a article from the Guardian at the end of this page shows this is a problem in British sociey as well as Spanish and worldwide.

We are all shocked and horrified by every such death but it is so common place it becomes a background noise to the rolling news we consume every day. This year 45 women have been killed in Spain. Their families, communities, local politicians all react and Governements plan interventions and promise new action but something major now needs to be done in our societies to change the culture in which men are able to harm women as an act of vengence or control. Mireia Molla, a Valencian regional ‘diputada’ said this morning ‘Basta ya!’, a Spanish expression of outrage meaning ‘enough already’. It is time for change and only a society united in the desire for such change can bring it about. It needs political will, zero tolerance for controlling attitudes and harrasment, education on gender equality from primary age with special emphasis on relationships in teenage years, money to finance programmes to protect women and their families, easy access to early intervention but above all a concious howl of rage throughout society, from our women and men, our youth, in our workplace, in our homes, schools, to our elders that this is intolerable. 
I have given much thought whether it is appropriate on this sad day to reproduce a poem I wrote in 2005. It was written in anger, a response to the casual way a women’s death was reported that day, when 62 women in Spain had already lost their lives, murdered by their men. In 12 years nothing has changed. I think all methods of protest are needed and if this poem on a site normally hosting lighter subject matter brings the horror of domestic violence to the attention of more people, makes anyone think for a minute about the change we need to inspire in our societies, its is worthwhile posting. I share this poem with respect for all the women and families who have suffered or are living with the consequences of gender violence.

I am renaming this poem BASTA YA!      

BASTA YA! (2005)       

Sixty two so far this year,
still three weeks remain.
Sixty two Spanish women dead,
strangled, stabbed, shot,
battered, burned by their men.

Celebrity chatter brutally
broken by today’s grim statistic.
Housebound voyeurs’ collective
shudder, numbing numbers,
anger, impotence, despair.

Love born hopeful, trusting,
curdled, soured, twisted,
dead as the bodies piling
up to be grieved, chilling cap
of iceberg of suffering.

Young men, old men, lovers,
rich men, poor men, fathers,
final act of drawn out torture or
fatal snap of rejected rage.
‘If I can’t have you no one will.’

What love wipes out life in jealous fury?
What price paid for women’s right
to leave and live in peace?
What deathly toll may we yet reach?
Sisters beware; love is not to die for.

© 2017 Jacqueline Claire Knight.  All rights reserved.


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