Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 July 2014, 14:56 GMT

Human Rights Brief: Domestic Violence Against Women in Ecuador

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 December 1994
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Human Rights Brief: Domestic Violence Against Women in Ecuador, 1 December 1994, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6a8121c.html [accessed 22 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

 

1.   INTRODUCTION

This paper deals with domestic violence against women in Ecuador. It does not examine the status of Ecuadorian women at length. However, given the importance of understanding the information in this paper in its proper context, some relevant statistics are included. Further information on the interpretation of these statistics or on the status of women in Ecuador can be found in the references mentioned below (and other related documents) which are available to the public in the IRB's regional documentation centres.

Once considered one of the poorest countries in Latin America,

Ecuador made tremendous advances in its living standards during the 1970s. Life expectancy improved substantially, infant mortality dropped and universal access to education became a reality. However, because of the recession, the drop in oil prices and the imposition of structural adjustment measures, since 1982 many Ecuadorians have been living in conditions as difficult as those of 20 years ago. (IWRAW Dec. 1993, 35).

The United Nations Monthly Bulletin of Statistics for August

1994 estimated Ecuador's population in mid-1993 to be 10.98 million (August 1994, 2). According to other statistical data, women made up 49.7 per cent of Ecuador's population in 1990, and that figure is expected to reach 49.74 per cent by the year 2000 (World Population Projections 1992, 209).

Data presented in the Human Development Report 1993 indicate

that the life expectancy of women in Ecuador was 68.2 years in 1990 (Human Development Report 1993 1993, 150). The life expectancy of Ecuadorians generally was 67 years in 1992, after rising from an average of 65.5 years in the period 1985-1989 to 66.5 years in the period 1990-1994, and it could reach 67.9 years by the year 1999 (World Bank 1993; World Population Projections 1992, 33). By way of comparison, life expectancy for the period 1990-1994 is 68.4 years in Latin America and the West Indies taken together and 77.8 years in Canada (ibid.).

World Bank data indicate that the illiteracy rate was 14 per

cent in Ecuador in 1990 (World Population Projections 1993). According to UNESCO data, the rate is 12.7 per cent for persons aged 15 years and over. In this age group, 9.6 per cent of men are illiterate, compared to 16.1 per cent of women (UNESCO 1993,1-18). Data for 1982 indicate that these rates were much higher in rural areas than in the urban centres: 21.7 per cent compared to 4.3 per cent among men, and 33.1 per cent compared with 8.0 per cent among women (ibid.). The Human Development Report 1993 indicates that 93 per cent of women aged 15 to 24 meet literacy requirements (Human Development Report 1993 1993, 150).

Women accounted for 30 per cent of the Ecuadorian labour force

in 1990 (Human Development Report 1993 1993, 150). According to the International Labour Office (ILO), that year women made up 26.4 per cent of Ecuador's active labour force. ILO data also indicate that 18.3 per cent of all Ecuadorian women were part of the labour force in 1990 (ILO 1993, 20). According to BIT Country Reports 1993, fewer women than men work in professional or specialized sectors and wage discrimination is common (Country Reports 1993 1994, 430). The International Women's Rights Action Watch (IWRAW) report points out that a growing number of women are finding themselves with no employment prospects and that because they have a more limited choice of occupations than men, they are more adversely affected by the fact that the education system has not kept pace with the economic system. In addition, according to sources cited in that report, the education of girls holds little importance for parents in rural areas, and the courses given in girls' high schools in those areas is of lower quality than courses offered at the same level to boys (IWRAW Dec. 1993, 37).

According to UNESCO data, only 1.0 per cent of women aged 15 to

19 had no schooling in 1990. These data also indicate that 56.9 per cent of women were enrolled in secondary studies and that 4 per cent of women were enrolled in post-secondary studies in 1990 (UNESCO 1993, 1-38). According to the Human Development Report 1993, 57 per cent of Ecuadorians were enrolled in secondary studies and 23 per cent in post-secondary studies between 1988 and 1990 (Human Development Reports 1993 1993, 150).

Six per cent of the seats in the Congress were held by women in

1991 according to the Human Development Report 1993 (ibid.). A source cited in the IWRAW report indicates that the low participation of women in national politics is due to the way in which the political parties are structured and to the fact that women are not taken seriously in this field (IWRAW Dec. 1993, 36).

2. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN ECUADOR

Violence against women is without either geographic or social boundaries (CEPLAES 1991, 92; Women's World Winter 1991-1992, 17; Shrader-Cox 1992, 175, 181). While the phenomenon of domestic violence is increasingly denounced today, it was traditionally ignored because of social and cultural attitudes (El Universo 16 July 1994; IWRAW Dec. 1993, 35). In Ecuador, as in other Latin American countries, these attitudes have been greatly influenced by the traditional ideals of mariasnismo and machismo (Rodríguez 1986, 323; Chant 1987, 287; O'Kelly and Carney 1986, 253-254). The first, mariasnismo, refers to women as possessors of great spirituality, morality and docility, while the second, machismo, embodies the cult of masculine virility (ibid.). According to Lilia Rodríguez, director of a centre to promote women's rights in Quito (Centro Equatoriano para la Promoción y Acción de la Mujer - CEPAM), legislation continues to reflect these traditions (Rodríguez 1986, 323-324).

In its Country Reports which was submitted to the United Nations Committee on Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1994, the International Women's Rights Action Watch (IWRAW) indicated that between 1989 and 1992, 93 per cent of legal proceedings instituted by women in the cities of Quito and Guayaquil, which involved more than 10,000 applications, concerned domestic violence (IWRAW Dec. 1993, 35). According to a study published in 1991 by the Centro de Planificación y Estudios Sociales (CEPLAES), a planning and social studies centre, 60 per cent of women in the suburbs of Quito said that they had been victims of domestic violence. CEPLAES 1992Another study by the Centro de Estudios e Investigación Sobre el Maltrato de la Mujer (CEIMME), a centre for study and research of violence against women, also published in 1991, indicates that for the country as a whole, the percentage of women victims of domestic violence is 68 (ibid.; Fact Sheet Oct. 1992, 2). According to other organizations such as CEPAM and the Ecuadorian committee for cooperation with the Inter-American Commission (Comité Ecuatoriano de Cooperación con la Comisión Interamericana - CECIM), eight women in ten are victims of domestic violence in Ecuador (Latinamerica Press 28 Jan. 1993, 6; IPS 6 Nov. 1992; Notisur 8 Apr. 1992). However, Dr. Elizabeth García, director of the Centro Sobre Derecho y Sociedad (CIDES), Ecuador's centre on rights and society, points out that this ratio of eight women in ten is based on CECIM's 1992 study of just 89 working-class women, all from the city of Guayaquil (García 20 July 1994, 1). While insisting on the fact that there are no country-wide studies of this problem, Dr. García does note that the situation is more or less the same in other towns and cities, and even in rural areas (ibid.). Several sources indicate that many women who are victims of violence do not report the acts because of social, cultural and economic factors (Country Reports 1993 1994, 430; Notisur 8 Apr. 1992; García 20 July 1994, 2), and, according to one source, 30 per cent of those who seek assistance do so only in cases of extreme violence (IPS 6 Nov. 1992).

3.              LEGISLATION

Ecuador has ratified all international conventions relative to women. In particular, in October 1981, it ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (United Nations 1993, 10-11; Rodríguez 1986, 323). Article 19, paragraph 5, of Ecuador's constitution establishes the equality of the sexes before the law in all spheres of Ecuadorian life, and Article 30 provides that the Ecuadorian government shall undertake to promote women's participation in Ecuadorian society (Mujer y Derecho Penal 1991, 15-16; Flanz and Serpa June 1987, 13-14, 18). Legislation regarding violence against women is dealt with in general terms in the Ecuadonian Penal Code. ( Código Penal Mar. 1986, 77-79, 82-84, 86; Briones 1991, 61,67; CEPAM 1991, 76-86).

Ecuadorian legislation does not, contain specific provisions concerning domestic violence (Briones 13 Apr. 1994, 1; García 20 July 1994, 3), although as outlined below, in some cases penalties for certain types of violence defined in the criminal code may be increased if perpetrated against a spouse (ibid.; Código Penal Mar. 1986, 78, 83-84). However, under sections 28 and 35 of the code of criminal procedure (Código de Procedimiento Penal), a person is prohibited from laying charges against a member of his or her own family (Briones 13 Apr. 1994, 2; García 20 July 1994, 3; El Universo 28 Mar. 1994); the plaintiff must make such charges through a third party (García 20 July 1994, 3).

Section 596 of Ecuador's criminal code defines violence as an act of physical aggression against a person's physical being (Código Penal Mar. 1986, 89):

Bodily harm (Delito de Lesiones). Sections 463 to 473 of Chapter 2 (Capítulo II - De las Lesiones) of Part 6 (Título VI - De los Delitos Contra las Personas) of the criminal code state the penalties provided for crimes involving bodily harm (ibid. 77-79). In order to establish the guilt of their attackers, victims must prove that the violent acts committed against them caused health problems or made it impossible for them to work, and penalties vary according to the seriousness of the problems and the length of time the victim was absent from work (ibid.; Briones 13 Apr. 1994, 2). In cases where the victim has to be away from work for fewer than three days, the guilty party receives a minimum sentence of 16 to 30 days in jail and a fine of between 1,500 and 2,000 sucres (about Cdn$1.00 to $1.40) [Ecuador's gross national product (GNP) per capita was US$1,070 in 1992 (World Bank 1993, 18). According to a representative of the Ecuadorian Embassy in Washington, the fines provided for in the criminal code are not indexed (Embassy of Ecuador 11 Aug. 1994). ] (ibid.). In cases where bodily harm results in an incurable illness, a permanent inability to work, a grievous mutilation or the loss of a major organ, the guilty individual is given the maximum sentence of two to five years' imprisonment and a fine of 200 to 800 sucres (Cdn$0.14 to $0.55) (Código Penal Mar. 1986, 78). Moreover, section 471 provides for more severe penalties if the perpetrator is the victim's spouse or a member of her immediate family (ibid.; García 20 July 1994, 3).

Ecuadorian legislation also contains provisions regarding indecent assault, rape, sexual corruption and corruption of minors [ These terms have been translated from the Spanish solely to facilitate understanding. They do not necessarily correspond to Canadian legal realities.] (Título VIII - De los Delitos Sexuales, Capítulo II - Del Atentado contra el Pudor, de la Violación y del Estupro) (Código Penal Mar. 1986, 82-84). However, according to Marena Briones, a lawyer who works to promote women's rights within the Movimiento de Mujeres de Guayaquil y Ecuador (Women's Movement of Guayaquil and Ecuador), based in Guayaquil, women victims of domestic violence are in practice only able to avail themselves of the criminal code provisions concerning bodily harm (Delito de Lesiones) (Briones 1994, 1-2). The other provisions mentioned above and described in Appendix 1 apply only to women who are minors (under 18 years of age), and none of them, including the section on rape, specifically refers to married women (ibid.; Código Penal Mar. 1986, 77-79, 82-87; CEPAM 1991, 75). According to a study covering the period 1987-1989, which was conducted by the Centro de Información y Apoyo a la Mujer (CIAM), a centre providing information and support to women, the average age of women who are victims of domestic violence is 34 years (CIAM 1991, 103). Statistics concerning the first year of operation of CEPAM's shelter for women in Quito, the Casa de Refugio para Mujeres y Menores, indicate that women between the ages of 26 and 36 formed the largest age group in the shelter (CEPAM n.d., 4). [ The Resource Centre of the DIRB has a copy of the provisions of the Ecuadorian criminal code, in Spanish.]

3.1        Reforms

Reform bills pertaining to some of the above-mentioned provisions have been considered since the mid-1980s (García 20 July 1994, 3-4). In particular, bills II-84-84 and II-85-12 proposed a definition of conjugal violence that would not take into account whether the act of violence did or did not result in health problems or an inability to work. However, these two reform bills have been relegated to the archives, and no steps have been undertaken to make them into laws (ibid., 4). In 1989, a bill to reform the chapter of the criminal code pertaining to sexual offences was tabled in the national congress, Ecuador's legislative body (Boletín Jan.-Apr. 1993, 9). The following year, women's organizations proposed further amendments to these provisions in order to include domestic violence. The reform bill, Proyecto Nø II-90-228 de: Ley Reformatoria al Código Penal, was not tabled until two years later, when the parliamentary committee on women, children and the family (Comisión Parlamentaria de la Mujer, el Niño y la Familia), proposed adding a chapter to the criminal code to define violence within the family, and violence against spouses in particular, as a public offence (ibid.; Mujer y Derecho Penal 1991, 166; Mujer/fempress May 1993, 20; Republic of Ecuador July 1990). According to García, the parliamentary committee on civil and criminal law (Comisión de lo derecho Civil y Penal) published the results of its study of the proposed legislation in July 1992 and has undertaken to present this bill at the next plenary session of parliamentary committees (García 20 July 1994, 4). However, the sources consulted by IWRAW in August 1993 seemed to indicate that the criminal code reform process was blocked in the national congress, and that there was no group within the congress that could lobby to have these reforms adopted (IWRAW Dec. 1993, 36). In principle, the committee was supposed to report on the status of the reform bill in November 1993 (García 20 July 1994), but according to Briones, the reform bill was still in the hands of the Congress in April 1994 (Briones 13 Apr. 1994, 1).

A reform bill on the code of criminal procedure has also been introduced (Proyecto Nø I-88-190). Under this bill, section 28 would be amended so that a person could legally lay charges against a member of his or her own family. However, the committee on civil and criminal law has not yet made known its comments regarding this bill, and has not taken any steps to have it debated in the national congress (García 20 July 1994, 3).

4.              LEGAL RECOURSE

According to Briones, none of the provisions described in Section 3 above is really effective because of the inefficiency of the Ecuadorian judicial system and the prejudices that exist in Ecuadorian society towards women who are victims of sexual violence (Briones 13 Apr. 1994, 3). García claims that there are no effective mechanisms to which women could resort, not only because of the slowness of the existing judicial system, but also because no funds have so far been allocated to set up programs particularly suited to this type of problem. Such programs would include, for example, the use of mediators, which provides a cheaper and quicker way of finding lasting solutions (García 20 July 1994, 2).

4.1            Procedure

Women who are victims of domestic violence may go to their local police station, contact the national police force, or approach local political authorities who, as justices of the peace are empowered to intervene in this type of situation (Gómez 1991, 144; CEPAM Sept. 1989, 2; García 20 July 1994, 4-5). Every major city in Ecuador has a police station that is always open (ibid., 5). Since Ecuadorian law does not allow a person to lay a complaint against a member of his or her own family, as noted in section 3, women who are victims of violence must be accompanied by a third party who undertakes to file the complaint on their behalf (ibid.). They then have to give a statement regarding the incidents that led them to file the complaint, a process for which the police require neither the presence nor the signature of a lawyer. Women are also entitled to a forensic medical examination which they may use as evidence if they decide to institute legal proceedings (for a divorce, for example) (ibid.; Gómez 1991, 144).

Women may also obtain a card (boleto de amparo o auxilio) on which they can record the attacks on them as they occur (ibid., 145). On the basis of these cards, which cover a period of one month and may be renewed when a further complaint is filed, the police have the power to arrest the perpetrator if he repeats his attacks (ibid.; García 20 July 1994, 5). The police may also issue a summons to the spouse to appear before the authorities and to sign a statement in which he undertakes to no longer abuse his wife (ibid.; Gómez 1991, 145). According to García, however, this summons to appear is not very effective: in the first place, unlike an arrest warrant, a summons to appear does not allow the authorities to arrest an individual and to bring him to the police station by force; secondly, a man who does not abide by his statement and starts abusing his spouse again is risking no more than detention lasting for a period between 24 hours and seven days. García claims that this does not resolve the problem of violence, but turns it into a vicious circle (García 20 July 1994, 5).

Men found guilty of violence against their wives may be held in custody - under the legislative provisions mentioned in Section 3 above, and in particular those provisions concerning bodily harm - if a detention order has been obtained from the police station (Briones 13 Apr. 1994, 3; García 20 July 1994, 6). However, as Briones points out, in most cases the women who have suffered violence are the first to demand that their husbands be released. Briones claims that it is important to take this reality into account, and to consider other solutions or penalties that would be more helpful to these women (Briones 13 Apr. 1994, 3).

Women have no other legal recourse (Briones 13 Apr. 1994, 3; García 20 July 1994, 5). A woman cannot, for example, obtain an order from the authorities to prohibit her attacker from approaching her or returning to the family home, or to require him to seek counselling (ibid.) On this subject, García adds that a couple may sign a kind of "amicable agreement," in which it can be stipulated, for example, that the husband agrees to stay away from his wife or to consult a therapist. However, there is no legal mechanism for compelling the husband to abide by such an agreement (García 20 July 1994, 5-6). According to García, the only cases where spouses have received therapy are those handled by CEPAM's shelter, where therapy is provided on a voluntary basis (ibid., 6).

4.2               Attitude of the Responsible Authorities

According to Briones and García, police officers and judges tend to look upon domestic violence as a problem between man and wife which should be resolved privately, namely within the family, and they perceive women who are victims of such violence as having asked for it and deserving the blame for it (Briones 13 Apr. 1994, 3; García 20 July 1994, 6). This observation is corroborated by the comments of Miriam Garcés, director of CEPAM, as reported by the Latinamerica Press in January 1993 (Latinamerica Press 28 Jan. 1993, 6). Rosario Gómez, social worker and coordinator of legal services for CEPAM, notes that, in general, women who approach the police meet with little but indifference and humiliation (Gómez 1991, 145). As soon as a woman enters the police station, she is reminded that she cannot file a complaint against her husband, and the person who is accompanying her to lay the charge is often intimidated (ibid.; García 20 July 1994, 6).

It is for this reason that the María Guare Foundation in Guayaquil asked the department of the interior (Ministro de Gobierno) to set up police stations exclusively managed by women, in four cities of Ecuador (Briones 13 Apr. 1994; García 20 July 1994, 4; El Universo 16 July 1994). However, most of these police stations were still not operational in July 1994, due to lack of funds and delays caused by consultations with women's organizations (ibid.; Briones 13 Apr. 1994, 3; García 20 July 1994, 4). Only one of these police stations, located in Guayaquil, was operational in July 1994. The staff of this station, which has received training to provide social and psychological services, includes a woman doctor who carries out medical examinations as well as personnel who are delegated to file complaints against the husbands of women who have suffered violence (ibid.; El Universo 16 July 1994). The administrative steps involved in setting up a police station for women in Quito were still incomplete in July 1994 (García 20 July 1994, 4). García states that as far as spousal rape is concerned, the police station for women in Guayaquil received only one complaint on the matter during its first three months of existence. Furthermore, although several men were prosecuted for spousal rape in Guayaquil, none of them were found guilty and sentenced (García 20 July 1994, 6). In the month of June 1994, the police stations in Quito received eight complaints of physical assault, but not one complaint of domestic violence. García adds that the police stations do not have any statistics on domestic violence (ibid.).

5.  SERVICES AVAILABLE TO WOMEN

According to the IWRAW report, the Ecuadorian government does not provide any services to assist women who are victims of domestic violence (IWRAW Dec. 1993, 36). However, the women's status directorate which is under the Department of Welfare (Dirección Nacional de la Mujer - DINAMU) does have a legal section that provides some legal assistance through other organizations (García 20 July 1994, 6). For example, the Centro de Promoción y Apoyo para la Mujer (CEPAM) offers legal, health and counselling services in Quito and in Guayaquil. In June 1990, with the help of DINAMU, CEPAM opened one of the two shelters for women victims of violence that currently exist in Ecuador, 15 km outside of Quito (ibid.; Briones 13 Apr. 1994, 4; Latinamerica Press 28 Jan. 1993, 6). By January 1993, the shelter had already accommodated more than 800 women and their children, and 1,600 others had received counselling services (ibid.). The other shelter, which is located in Duran near Guayaquil, is run by the María Guare Foundation, which also provides legal and counselling services. Women who are victims of violence may also contact CEIMME (see Section 2 above), located in Quito (Briones 13 Apr. 1994, 4; García 20 July 1994).

According to García, women victims of violence who wish to go beyond merely making a statement and to institute legal proceedings against their husbands must obtain the assistance of a lawyer, and this sometimes entails costs that they cannot afford. There are very few free legal services, and these are offered only in major cities (García 20 July 1994, 2).

Nonetheless, statistics complied by CEPAM for 1988 and 1989 reveal that 90 per cent of the women who used the legal services provided by the Centre came from rural areas, and that 28 per cent of women sought assistance because they were victims of family violence (Gómez 7 Feb. 1990, 61).

In addition to the organizations mentioned in this document, there are many other organizations that are working for the cause of women in Ecuador, including the Centro Acción de la Mujer (CAM, Women's Advocacy Centre) and Mujeres del Atico (Women of the Attic) in Guayaquil, and the Ecuadorian family assistance program, Programa de Asistencia Familiar Ecuatoriano (PAFE), which is located in the Chillogallo area of Quito (Briones Dec. 1992, 107; Mujer y Derecho Penal 1991, 195; García 20 July 1994, 7). According to Briones, however, the three organizations mentioned above are the only ones offering special assistance to women who are victims of sexual or domestic violence (Briones 13 Apr. 1994, 4).

APPENDIX 1: Other Provisions in Ecuador's Penal Code

Indecent assault (Atentado contra el Pudor).

Section 505 defines indecent assault as any indecent and offensive act (not involving sexual relations) against the physical being of a person (regardless of sex) (Codigo Penal March 1986, 82). Section 506 provides that any person found guilty of indecent assault not involving violence or threats is liable to a penalty of one to five years' imprisonment if the victim is less than 14 years of age, and of three to six years' imprisonment if the victim is less than 12 years of age. A CEPAM analysis emphasizes that indecent assault against women over 14 years of age is only recognized in law when it is accompanied by violence or threats (CEPAM 1991, 84). Under section 507, indecent assault involving violence or threats is punishable by three to six years in prison if the victim is over 14 years of age, four to eight years if the victim is under 14 years of age, and eight to twelve years if the victim is under 12 years of age (Código Penal Mar. 1986, 83).

Rape (Violación).

Section 512 of the criminal code defines rape as sexual relations with any person (regardless of sex) if that person is less than 12 years of age or has a mental or physical handicap that prevents the person from defending himself or herself, or if the attacker uses force or intimidation. Section 513 provides for prison terms of eight to twelve years in the first case, and of four to eight years in the last two cases. Section 515 provides for an increase in the minimum penalties of two years if the guilty party is related to the victim or is the victim's guardian, or if the guilty party abuses the power conferred upon him by his status or social or professional responsibilities in order to commit sexual abuse of a person in the above-mentioned circumstances (ibid. 83-84). However, these provisions do not specifically refer to rape within marriage (ibid.; CEPAM 1991, 77).

Sexual corruption (Estupro).

Section 509 defines sexual corruption as sexual relations implicating an "honest" woman (the term employed in the code) whose consent was obtained by means of lies or through seduction. Under sections 510 and 511, any person found guilty of sexual corruption involving a woman 18 years of age or younger is liable to a prison term of three to five years (Código Penal Mar. 1986, 82-83). Ecuadorian law thus does not recognize the sexual corruption of women over 18 years of age, or of married women, as a crime (CEPAM 1991, 80; García April 1992, 39).

Corruption of minors (Corrupción de menores).

Under section 521 of Ecuador's criminal code, any person found guilty of an offence against morals or of encouraging or facilitating the debauch or corruption of a minor or minors is liable to two or five years' imprisonment if the minor or minors are 14 years of age or older, and to three to six years' imprisonment if the minor or minors are less than 14 years of age (Código Penal Mar. 1986, 85). Section 523 provides for an increase of two years in the minimum penalties particularly in cases where the guilty party is the spouse of the person who has been prostituted or corrupted (ibid.).

APPENDIX 2: Notes on the Sources

Marena Briones

Lawyer and member of the Movimiento de Mujeres de Guayaquil y Ecuador (Women's Movement of Guayaquil and Ecuador), and the Centro Acción de la Mujer (CAM, Women's Advocacy Centre) in Guayaquil, Marena Briones works to promote women's legal rights in Ecuador. She is the author and co-author of numerous articles and papers on women and the law in Ecuador, including the legal guides on women's rights Guía Legal de los Derechos de la Mujer en el Ecuador and Panorama de la Legislatión Ecuatoriana en Torno a la Violencia de Genero. Briones also contributed to Mujer y Derecho Penal: Taller de An lisis del Código Penal Ecuatoriano, listed in the references section of this paper.

CEPAM (Centro Equatoriano para la Promoción y Acción de la Mujer)

CEPAM is a not-for-profit non-governmental organization which has been working since 1983 to promote the status of women in Ecuador. CEPAM's activity program consists of four components: training, research, dissemination of information and services. The centre has two offices -- one in Quito, the other in Guayaquil -- which offer legal, health and counselling services. In June 1990, with the help of DINAMU, CEPAM opened one of the two shelters for women victims of violence that currently exist in Ecuador. CEPAM is part of the Movimiento de Mujeres, a network of women's groups working to ensure respect for women's rights in Ecuadorian society.

Lilia Rodríguez, director general of CEPAM in Quito, is one of the leaders of the feminist movement in Ecuador. Rosario Gómez is a social worker and coordinator of legal services for CEPAM. Gómez is also a founding member of the Comité Latinoamericano para la Defensa de los Derechos de la Mujer (CLADEM, Latinamerican Committee for the Defence of Women's Rights) in Ecuador. Miriam Garcés is the centre's administrative director.

Dr. Elizabeth García

Elizabeth García is the director of the Centro Sobre Derecho y Sociedad (CIDES, Centre on Rights and Society), a not-for-profit non-governmental organization legally recognized in 1987. Because of its status, CIDES is prohibited from participating in political or religious activities. Set up initially as a university research centre on the law, since 1991 CIDES has been concentrating its efforts on developing and implementing programs aimed at promoting respect for the law, justice and democracy. The organization receives no subsidies. It is exclusively funded by income from various contracts that it carries out for national agencies such as the Ministerio de Trabajo Ecuatoriano (Ecuador's Ministry of Labour), the Municipio de Quito (municipality of Quito) and the Confederación de Nacionalidades Indigenas del Ecuador (CONAIE, Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador), as well as regional or foreign organizations such as the Comisión Andina de Juristas (Andean Commission of Jurists) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in Washington.

Dr. García published, in collaboration with Alberto Wray, renowned Ecuadorian lawyer and professor at the Universidad Católica del Ecuador (Catholic University of Ecuador), and René Larenas of the Defensa de los Niños Internacional (DNI, International Children's Defence), a book on child legislation in Ecuador.

IWRAW (International Women's Rights Action Watch)

The IWRAW is a network of individuals and organizations which monitors implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, a treaty now ratified by at least 130 countries. The Women, Public Policy and Development program of the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota acts as the network's secretariat. The IWRAW is directed by professors affiliated with the University of Minnesota.

CIEMME (Centro de Estudios e Investigación Sobre el Maltrato a la Mujer Ecuatoriana)

The CIEMME is a non-governmental organization which defends the rights of women and works to find solutions to the problem of physical, psychological, verbal, sexual and social violence against women. The centre is located in Quito, produces and disseminates information on violence against women, including sexual and spousal violence, organizes conferences and training workshops on the subject and offers legal and counselling services.

REFERENCES

Boletín [Santiago]. January-April 1993. No. 1. "Legislación Sobre Violencia Doméstica y Sexual."

Briones, Marena. 13 April 1994, lawyer who works to promote women's rights within the Movimiento de Mujeres de Guayaquil y Ecuador (Women's Movement of Guayaquil and Ecuador). Letter sent to the DIRB.

Briones, Marena. December 1992. "Panorama de la Legislación Ecuatoriana en Torno a la Violencia de Genero." Donde Empieza mi Universo: 7 Aportes sobre la Violencia de Género. Compiled by Guadelupe León. Quito: Centro de Estudios e Investigación sobre el Maltrato a la Mujer Ecuatoriana (CEIMME).

Briones, Marena. 1991. "An lisis de la Legislación Penal Ecuatoriana." Mujer y Derecho Penal: Taller de Análisis del Código Penal Ecuatoriano. Edited by Rosario Gómez de Donoso, Pilar Guayasamín de Cagigal and Charo Frances. Quito: Centro Ecuatoriano para la Promoción y Acción de la Mujer (CEPAM).

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