Latin American Women Take to the Streets

#NiUnaMenos, Not Even One Less

On October 19th, women all over Latin America took to the streets and protested for all the women missing today from gender violence. As a plea to governments for a better justice system, women of all ages wore purple and black in solidarity for the cause. What we were fighting against was a system that promotes violence by allowing femicide cases to go unpunished, among many other things.

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“We are the cry of those who no longer have a voice.” Photo: Caro Ruu

Women from Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil and Guatemala stopped activities and marched together on a strike.  Those who could not leave their jobs, wore black head to toe. The movement exploded after October 8th, when Lucía Pérez, a 16 year old girl from Argentina, was brutally raped and killed.

 “Black Wednesday,” as the strike was named, was organized by 50 activist groups in Argentina, and quickly went viral. Through the hashtag #NiUnaMenos, (Not even one less), women all over Latin America marched not only for the femicides, but against a culture that views women less than men, a culture that goes beyond law and bails those who have perpetuated similar crimes.

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Unfortunately, this is not the first time women have marched against a system that protects the abuser. Last summer in Perú, women striked against gender violence not being a punishable crime. When men physically and mentally abuse their partners, it’s a process that becomes a burden for the victim and is often left unsolved by the authorities, leaving the woman and any children she has more vulnerable to further violence.

The feminist movement in Latin America, takes a special cry against the machista system and culture that we endure day by day. It is believed that a man who is “strong” is more attractive, so it is expected of him and his “temperament” to explode and be violent against their partner, or female population in general.

In Mexico, where I am from, we experience things from catcalling and harassing in the streets and public transportation, to facing trending topics that judge a woman about what she did at her bachelorette party, to the 70th femicide reported this year in Puebla, the 4th largest state in the country. It is now all so common, it is terrifying. They are killing us, raping us, abusing us, and our countries have done nothing about it.

Revictimization is something that women have to endure whenever they are harassed or abused. Most of the time, femicides won’t be filed as such because it takes a toll on the country or the state’s reputation and therefore tourism and foreign direct investment. Instead of calling it femicide, these crimes are only labeled “crimes of passion.”

Here is a look at a few numbers that show how women live among gender violence in Latin America:

  • In Argentina, domestic violence kills one woman every 36 hours.
  • In Perú, 50% of the population believes that if a woman is wearing a mini skirt, she is “stimulating” harassment.
  • In México, every 4 minutes a woman is sexually assaulted.
  • If you are Mexican, there is a greater possibility of you being raped or killed than getting cancer or AIDS.
  • In Argentina, the average time to report domestic violence is five years.
  • In 2015, Bolivia registered 93 femicide cases, but only three open cases had conviction.
  • México is the 2nd highest in the world for transgender killings.
  • The femicide rate in Brazil is the 5th highest in the world.
  • In 2015, in Chile, there were 45 femicides committed victims family members and 112 other attempts of femicide.
  • In Perú, 70% of the population justifies domestic violence in “certain cases,” especially in situations of infidelity.

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“No more trans-femicides.”

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So yes, we are fed up, we are angry, we are terrified. Whenever I see a woman, a person of the LGBTQ community, or a girl walking down the street, I hope they arrive home safely. I mourn for all the women and transgender women killed, and for those who are not here yet, who will be Latinas, and could become a part of these statistics.

Please, join us, march with us, ask your governments to pressure ours. Join the movement #NiUnaMenos on November 25th.

All photos by Caro Ruu. Additional photos can be found at The Common Girls.