The new Prime Minister of Spain, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, is making protection against domestic violence a top priority in his government. Zapatero called violence against women his country’s “worst shame” according to the New York Times. Following through on his campaign platform to fight violence against women, his first bill introduced to Parliament since he assumed power in April proposes harsher punishment for male abusers. The New York Times reported that the bill would criminalize violent threats against women, provide more money to protect women, and create work-training programs for battered women. In addition, this legislation lays the foundation for a national prevention and education program.
This proposed legislation comes after a wave of publicity about high rates of domestic violence in Spain. According to The New York Times, however, there has been powerful opposition to the Prime Minister’s pro-woman stance, particularly from the Catholic Church in Spain, which is claiming that women’s advances are the cause of the abuse, issuing a manifesto saying the “bitter fruits” of women’s increased power are “domestic violence, sexual abuse, and homeless children.”