Women in Mexico's State of Chiapas Working Toward a 'Life Free of Violence'
Laurie Liles - Cronkite News Service
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August 8, 2014

Lesvia Entzin Gomez, a Chiapas mother of three, was blinded when her husband, drunken and enraged, shot her in the face with a shotgun in July 2013. She described the attack to reporters in San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas, Mexico. (Laurie Liles/Cronkite News Service)

SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS, Mexico – When a pending downpour forced Lesvia Entzin Gomez to return to her mother-in-law’s without the apples she had left to cut, her drunken, enraged husband pulled out a shotgun.

“I did not think he had a shell in the shotgun,” Entzin Gomez recalled. “I thought he was playing … then he pointed it at me and I heard it go off. He shot me in the face and my eyes.”

The July 15, 2013, attack left the 24-year-old mother of three blind and suffering from headaches and dizziness. Her husband, Jorge Navarro Hernandez, remains in jail, but she said she has been threatened by his relatives and is in constant fear for her life.

Her case is not unusual: 30 percent of women in Chiapas state age 15 and older were victims of domestic violence in 2011, according to Mexico’s most-recent National Survey on the Dynamics of Relationships in the Household.

And while that seems shockingly high, Chiapas actually has the lowest domestic violence rate among Mexico’s 31 states and federal district. The state of Mexico was highest at 56.9 percent. Nationally, 46.1 percent of Mexico’s 42.6 million women reported physical, emotional or psychological abuse in the 2011 survey.

In Chiapas, where more than 70 percent live in poverty, activists say gender-based violence resulted in the deaths of 84 women from January to October 2013. Entzin Gomez narrowly missed becoming one of those statistics.

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