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María Magdalena: Story of a Femicide Attempt

  • Murdering women just for being women is called femicide. In 2015 this affected 6 of every 100,000 women. This is a first-person account from one of them, María Magdalena, who is from Nambí de Nicoya.
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The number of women in Guanacaste seeking restraining orders is 38% higher than the rest of the country.Photo by Eka Mora

I got pregnant when I was fifteen. My boyfriend was nineteen. That was sixteen years ago. When I became of age he moved in with me and my mother, and then he started beating me. In the beginning my mother told me that this guy might kill me, but I stayed with him and she didn’t say anything more. I got pregnant again and we rented a place.

On the outside, people saw him as humble and quiet, but he was hiding who he really was. Sometimes he would leave home for a month at a time, but if he saw me in the street he would destroy all my clothes and kick me out so that I had to find another place to live. Fourteen years like this went by, until I couldn’t take any more.

I started to do some workplace training with the Inamu, here in Nicoya, when he and I separated for around eight months. Before that, I swore that I was the aggressor because he would say “I don’t touch you unless you touch me.” And he started to say hurtful things so that I would push him. That was enough for him to beat me in front of my children.

For years, I would file a report and then withdraw it out of fear. Once they were about to take him to jail and I withdrew the complaint because I was pregnant and I thought, “what am I going to do alone, with no education, with three kids?”

Eight months went by and he came looking for me, saying that he was going to change. But I had already learned to value myself from the courses at the Inamu. And I liked that I could buy my own living room set or take the kids to have ice cream. I had decided not to take him back, and I told him.

He grabbed me and pushed me into the house. Then he took out a knife. He stabbed me five times. He even perforated a lung. The girls ran outside, screaming, and the neighbors arrived. I went outside however I could and when I woke up I was in the hospital. I filed the complaint right then and there. He fled for a year, and a year ago he turned himself in to the police.

Now I have a bakery at home, in Nambí, because I won a little money at an Inamu contest.

I tell this story because I know that there are other women living this experience and even though they can file a complaint, they’re scared or simply don’t do it because they’re afraid of losing him. I don’t judge them, but I do swear that they can get out of that situation, hopefully before they end up in the hospital.

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