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“It is better if I kill her”: Perceptions and opinions of violence against women and femicide in Ocotal, Nicaragua, after Law 779

Samantha Luffy, Dabney Page Evans and Roger W. Rochat

Latin America and the Caribbean


The objective of this research is to examine women's perceptions and opinions of violence against women (VAW) and femicide in Ocotal, Nicaragua, since the introduction of Law 779, a national law implemented in 2012 meant to eradicate VAW. From May to June 2014, three focus group discussions were held in Spanish with 17 women from different neighborhoods within the city of Ocotal. A semistructured discussion guide with open-ended questions was employed to elucidate local perspectives regarding the themes. The participants viewed VAW as a widespread issue in Ocotal that limits women's autonomy. They described the multiple forms that VAW may take, particularly femicide, and also identified machismo as a primary cause of such violence. Even though Law 779 is meant to eradicate VAW and femicide in Nicaragua, women in Ocotal perceived that femicide has become more common since the law was implemented. Though feminist groups have reported a rise in femicide since the implementation of Law 779, more rigorous data are required to corroborate these claims. Whether or not femicide has actually been increasing in Nicaragua since the introduction of this law, women's perceptions of Law 779 provide context for the reported rise in femicide. Additionally, gender-training programs and other interventions to reduce gender inequality and facilitate open communication between women and their partners may be needed to enhance the intended impacts of Law 779 and reduce femicide in Nicaragua.

External Authors

Samantha Luffy
Dabney Page Evans
Roger W. Rochat




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