Spain sees 'dreadful' December spike in women being murdered

AP - Alvaro Barrientos

Spain's Interior Minister has denounced a "dreadful" surge in gender violence after 13 women were killed in December, making it the deadliest month this year. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said Spain was "suffering a terrible rebound in cases of gender violence".

Updating the number of dead in December from nine to 13, today's edition of respected newspaper El Païs carries a front page warning against "macho violence".

Among the victims was a 32-year-old pregnant woman stabbed to death, allegedly by her former partner, in front of their two teenage children on Wednesday night in the central town of Escalona.

She had been due to give birth within days, according to Spanish media reports. Her death brings to at least 52 the number of women killed in gender violence this year.

The total number of such killings now stands at 1,183 since the government started keeping a tally in 2003.

Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska said the "series of dreadful crimes" suffered this month was "deeply frustrating" and should serve as a "wake-up call".

He urged people to report any suspected incidents of gender violence and said police across the country have been ordered to "step up" their vigilance.

"This is not a private issue as it was understood in the past," he told journalists. "We cannot go back to that idea, it is a social tragedy that we have to face as a society."

The grim shadow of Ana Orantes

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez was no less shocked by the December deaths.

"Ending gender violence involves all of us. It is essential to act together, as a society, to stop this scourge," he said in a tweet.

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