Ninety percent of calls made by women to denounce domestic violence and seek help are false, President López Obrador said on Friday.
The president made the claim in response to a question at his regular news conference about the documented increase in domestic violence during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’m going to give you a piece of information that doesn’t mean that violence against women doesn’t exist,” López Obrador said. “I don’t want you to misinterpret me because a lot of what I say is taken out of context: 90% of those calls … are false, it’s proven.”
López Obrador said that the 90% figure doesn’t just apply to calls related to violence against women but also to calls made to the Mexico City metro that claim that the tracks have been sabotaged or there is a bomb in the system.
“The majority [of the calls] are false,” he said.
According to the Spotlight Initiative, a partnership between the United Nations and the European Union that is aiming to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls by 2030, Mexican women made more than 115,000 calls to the 911 emergency number in March to denounce violence, a 22% increase compared to February. The figure equates to an average of 155 calls per hour during the month.
López Obrador said that the Interior Ministry and the National Women’s Institute are taking action against the problem but sought to downplay its severity.
“In the homes of Mexicans, the children are there, the daughters-in-law, the grandchildren, and there has always been harmonious cohabitation. In other places, where this tradition, this culture, doesn’t exist it might be that isolation [to limit the spread of coronavirus] causes aggravation, confrontation and violence,” he said.
“[But] the Mexican family is different from families in Europe and the United States; Mexicans are used to living together, being together. … I’m not saying that there is not this confrontation in Mexico, of course there are differences in all families,” López Obrador said.
“We’re against femicides, hate crimes, that must be made very clear. … We come from a years-long social struggle in defense of the poor, the helpless, the dispossessed, women. … Now the conservatives are saying that we’re not doing anything in defense of women – they’re wrong, we’re constantly dealing with the issue.”