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Women across Latin America protest against gender-based violence

October 20, 2016, 2:00am

The horrific rape and murder of a 16-year old girl in Argentina earlier this month inspired protests throughout Central and South America on Wednesday.

Dubbed “Black Wednesday” by its organizers, Wednesday’s strikes and protests held throughout Argentina had one overarching demand: “no more machista violence.” The women’s rights movement Ni Una Menos (Not One Less), which garnered global attention in 2015 for its focus on the pervasive issue of violence against women, employed the hashtags #NiUnaMenos and #MiercolesNegro to call on women around the world to get involved.

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Women in Chile, Mexico, Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, El Salvador and Uruguay heard the call and joined in efforts to protest the pervasive issue of femicide and gender-based violence.

Latin America’s femicide problem — the intentional killing of a women — is as wide-ranging as it is startling. The region comprises nearly half of the world’s worst offenders, according to Small Arms Survey, a group that monitors violence around the world.

Argentina has taken steps in recent years to address the issue — in 2012 the country introduced a femicide provision which includes life sentences for offenders found guilty, and years earlier the government passed a law geared at tackling the country’s domestic violence problem.

Despite its government’s recent efforts, femicide and acts of violence against women remain deeply troubling realities in Argentina, where 286 women were murdered in gender-based crimes in 2015.

Women in Mexico City stopped traffic to protest femicide in solidarity with protests organized throughout Latin America. (Rex Features via AP Images)

Women carrying torches during a march in Santiago to protest against femicide and gender violence. (Sipa USA via AP)

A woman looks from above hundreds of protesters with umbrellas during a massive demonstration against gender violence, at Plaza de Mayo square in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)

Women take part in femicide protest in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Credit: Sipa USA via AP)

A woman with her face painted protests against gender violence in Mexico City. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)