||December 2008 Edition|
Champion of Health
Singer José José Denounces Violence against Women
José, the Latin balladeer, was named a PAHO Champion of Health on the
International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Dec.
4. Photo by David Spitz/PAHO
least one in three women in Latin America and the Caribbean have
suffered violence at the hands of an intimate partner, and in some
countries as many as 60 percent, according to data from the Pan
American Health Organization (PAHO) presented on the International Day
for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Dec. 4.
"Gender-based violence is the most prevalent and complex human rights abuse and public health problem that we deal with," said PAHO Director Mirta Roses. It affects women's health and, in the worst cases, can result in women's deaths. Moreover, "Gender-based
violence affects children, families, and communities, as it erodes the
social cohesion so necessary for healthy lifestyles," said Roses.
mark the international day, PAHO released a new book on alcohol and
domestic violence, held two panel discussions on these topics, and
honored Latin singer José José as a PAHO Champion of Health.
accepting the honor, the acclaimed Mexican balladeer described his
troubled upbringing as the son of an alcoholic who beat his wife and
died at age 45. The singer described his own struggles with alcoholism
and the challenges of overcoming violence against women in a culture
that traditionally has glorified machismo and belittled the concept of
am convinced that everything that happens in the life of a man or woman
comes from the example they see when they are children," said José José. "With our behavior, with our errors, we end up programming our children."
Albert Ramdin, assistant secretary general of the Organization ofAmerican States, spoke at the event, saying, "Even
the best laws and policies cannot bring about the eradication of
violence if cultural patterns of inequality and sexism are not
addressed at the same time in a long-term process that must engage the
media, the state, and civil society in general."
new book on intimate partner violence is Unhappy Hours: Alcohol and
Partner Aggression in the Americas. It presents evidence from 10
countries that shows that the consumption of large amounts of alcohol
is associated with increased risk of both perpetrating and being a
victim of intimate partner violence in both men and women. Rates of
violence are higher among younger couples and for common-law unions,
divorced or separated couples, and singles than for legally married
couples. Frequency of alcohol consumption is not significantly
associated with violence.
key finding in the book is that whilemen can be victims, women suffer
more from intimate partner violence. They report more severe aggression
and greater feelings of fear and anger than men, and are more likely to
seek medical attention for their injuries.
Graham, of Canada's Centre for Addiction andMental Health (CAMH) and
coeditor of the book, said the research suggests that public health
interventions should focus on prevention and deterrence, not just
services for victims. "We
should reduce all violence, against both men and women, but women
should be our highest priority since they suffer the most from intimate
Maristela Monteiro, PAHO's senior advisor on alcohol and substance abuse and coordinator of the new book, said, "Effective
policies to reduce heavy episodic consumption of alcohol need to be
promoted as an integral part of policies and programs to reduce
PAHO book is based on research carried out as part of the GENACIS
project (Gender, Alcohol and Culture: An International Study). The
countries in the study were Argentina, Canada, Costa Rica, Brazil,
Belize, Nicaragua, Peru,Mexico, Uruguay, and the United States.