We understand obstetric violence as violence of a sexual nature that directly threatens the dignity, integrity and autonomy of women and their children. Obstetric violence constitutes acts of physical, emotional and psychological torture and is above all a cultural and political issue that accounts for the place that women, especially women-mothers, occupy in society.

To that extent, we also understand that obstetric violence is within the framework of sexual and reproductive rights and not within the medical field. Childbirth is a sexual fact and what is affected by violating the ability to decide how to give birth is precisely the freedom to live our sexuality and exercise it autonomously.

The following is a copy of a press-release that the Asociación Civil Las Casildas, in conjunction with the human rights litigationteam Justicia y Reparación, presented to the committee of CEDAW (Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women) of the United Nations, to ask for a compensation claim for obstetric violence.

Las Casildas is a feminist group, founded in 2011, created by people from different disciplines. They generate devices to disseminate and make visible issues such as obstetric violence, sexual and reproductive rights and gender issues.

Justicia y Reparación is a law firm specialized in fundamental rights and litigation in the fields of civil liability and labor law. Specialists in the international arena, currently litigating a series of cases in which they seek to obtain reparation for people whose human rights have been violated as a result of the action or omission of the State.

Flor Múgica

Buenos Aires, November 24, 2020

Today the Asociación Civil Las Casildas, in conjunction with the human rights litigationteam Justicia y Reparación, presented a compensation claim for obstetric violence tothe committee of CEDAW (Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination againstWomen) of the United Nations.

This marks the first instance of a case of obstetric violence in Argentina reaching the UN. The petition  has been solicited due to the frustration of all legal avenues in Argentina by a victim of obstetric violence, who after almost three years is still without a resolution or compensation for the violation suffered and the severe damages caused. This constitutes a denial of justice and a breach of duty of the national state.

Respecting the dignity of all people is the base from which human rights stem. The state is obliged to take an active role in relation to the protection of these rights, therefore this petition is framed in the need to establish precise measures to prevent and eradicate violence towards women and also develop legitimate and thorough procedures for victims of obstetric violence.

In our country, complaints made do not result in justice for the victims since the regulatory framework does not establish penalties for those who commit this type of violation. Unfortunately, this merely results in making visible the systematic manner ofsuch events, and that they fall back on the variable settlements of the patriarchal society which relates to no more than a woman ́s body and those of the children at birth.

Obstetric violence is a form of violence towards women that remains completely hidden and normalized adding to a lack of training amongst obstetric professionals on gender and rights. This in turn makes the deficit of integrity, dignity and wellbeing afforded to women and their children enormous. The time has come to remedy this situation urgently.