A march against gender violence. / EFE

Lost in the noise

Among all of Friday's exciting events, there's one in particular that might fly under the radar - but it shouldn't

Rachel Haynes
RACHEL HAYNES

We really don't know where to look this week, there's so much going on.

The World Cup in Qatar, the Davis Cup in Malaga, Christmas lights switch-ons, Black Friday... With all the goal celebrations, (fans of both Spain and England will have had sore throats this week), the festive music and endless advertisements offering huge bargains, our minds will find it hard to avoid distractions this weekend.

But hopefully there will be a gap in all this commercial, festive and sporting noise so that two other vital events happening today, Friday, can make themselves heard.

Just 24 hours before crowds pack into Malaga's famous Calle Larios on Saturday to watch the angels twinkle, another crowd, unfortunately not quite so large, will be in the streets to commemorate International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. This 25 November, when society raises its voice in defence of the thousands of women suffering domestic abuse, assault and even death, it needs to be louder than ever. The figures don't get better: last year the number of women in Andalucía receiving help as victims of gender-related violence was up by 25 per cent on the previous year.

More statistics suggest that only a small proportion of women suffering some sort of physical or psychological abuse at the hands of their current or former partners actually report them to the police.

So it's more important than ever that the manifestos read and slogans chanted under the soon-to-sparkle Christmas lights in towns and cities all over Spain this 25 November should be heard above all the other noise going on.

Even the importance of Spain's new "only yes is yes" legislation to extend the reach of sexual abuse offences has been swamped by the louder controversy caused by the law's unexpected effect of seeing some sex offenders' sentences reduced.

And meanwhile, amid all this racket, this is also the weekend of the Gran Recogida, with volunteers out in force in supermarkets around the country, collecting food bank donations.

Bancosol, the central food bank that serves the entire province of Malaga, helps around 50,000 people through dozens of local charities and associations. Families whose circumstances mean that putting bread on the table is a challenge in itself.

So, how should we deal with all this noise this weekend? As with all things, with our usual contradictions.

Can we donate a kilo of pasta to the Gran Recogida and not feel guilty about all the Black Friday purchases we made earlier in the day?

And Qatar is hardly known for its work to eliminate violence against women, but is it okay to leave the demonstration to rush home and catch the end of the England-USA game this evening?