I’ve been doing a little research into the Franco years, as background for a possible novel.
It was worse than I expected.
I knew divorce was forbidden under Franco, and that a woman who ran away from a violent husband would be brought back by the police, who, like as not, would tell the husband to give her a good hiding to teach her not to run off again. I wasn’t a bit surprised to hear that abortion was illegal, but so were contraceptives. And you had no right to refuse sex.
“Women could not become judges, or testify in trial. They could not become university professors. Their affairs and economy had to be managed by their father or by their husbands. Until the 1970s a woman could not have a bank account without a co-sign by her father or husband.”
You know what? Women were arguably better off under Saddam Hussein! At least women were legally people in Iraq. It’s even possible (but not likely) that Franco killed more civilians.
Franco and his party killed 150,000-200,000 civilians and PoWs during the war, and maybe 200,000 were killed after the war. (The red side –the elected government– killed “38,000 to 110,000, with most estimates closer to the former.”) Saddam Hussein killed between 300,000 civilians in his repression, and about 1.4 million in his wars.
Of course it doesn’t really matter who was worse: they were both revolting people. I’m so very, very glad I live in a western democracy.