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Ecuador: Blogging to Prevent Domestic Violence in Guayaquil

The municipal government of Guayaquil, Ecuador [es] recently sponsored a blog contest open to new and existing bloggers around the theme “Home: A Safe Place?” The topic was chosen to give visibility to the problem of domestic violence and to help generate solutions to eradicate this problem in homes and communities.

Even though there was some criticisms [es] regarding the way that the contest was publicized and concerns that some would only create a blog for the contest, it did fulfill the original objectives [es]. Many bloggers ended up participating [es] and the judges made their decision. These are the top four winners and who received cash prizes.

Violencia Discreta [es] looks for peace built from inside the home and from there promote gender equity. This blog is written by Fernando Landin and Princesa Quil. She wrote a post on the purpose for the awards where she explains what was the motive to participate and why a ‘woman remains safer in the street better than her own home':

Ese día volví en la tarde y me encontré con una mujer, una de las tantas mujeres que sufren en su soledad de una violencia discreta. Sutilmente le dije que me interesaba conocer su historia, y que podía confiar en mi. Sentí su frustración, la decepción de amar a alguien y luego sufrir la agresión, y aguantarlo por mil razones que no entendemos hasta que abrimos los ojos. Y luego la pregunta: Con quién he estado todo este tiempo?. Luego, pasaba por la Comisaría y siempre estaban llenas de mujeres agredidas, abría los periódicos y ahi estaba alguna mujer asesinada por su cónyuge, caminaba por la calle y ahi estaba alguna mujer con una autoestima por los suelos, desarreglada y sintiendose chiquitita, que seguramente era inferiorizada por alguien. Me dije que está pasando aquí! Me di cuenta que el problema es gravísimo, pero que es tan común que parece que lo hemos asimilado como algo normal, cuando solo demuestra que existe una seria patología que sufre nuestra sociedad.

That day I returned in the afternoon and I met a woman, one of many who suffers alone from a discreet violence. Subtly, I told her I was interested to know her story, and that she could trust me. I felt her frustration, the disappointment of loving someone and then suffer the attack, and endure it for a thousand reasons we don't not understand until we open our eyes. And then the question: With whom have I been all this time?. Then, I had passed through the Municipal Court and it always was full of abused women, and I opened the newspaper and there was a woman murdered by her husband, I then walked down the street and there was a woman with a her self-esteem near the bottom, disheveled and feeling small that certainly she was belittled by someone. I told myself what's happening here! I realized that the problem is serious, but that it is so common that it seems that we have assimilated that it is something normal, when it only shows that our society suffers a serious disease.

Hogar Lugar seguro? [es] is the title José Cruz chose for his blog. He says that there is a perception that anything that happens at home is private, and which only contributes to the fact that domestic violence is not talked about in the open. In his intent to help women fight against abuse, he has listed the main locations where they can look for help in two of the main cities in Ecuador: Quito and Guayaquil.

There is another blog under the same name as the one previously mentioned. Hogar: Lugar seguro? is written by William Zea Morales. With a compilation of testimonials, he explains why 6 out of 10 women in Ecuador have suffered physical, physicological or sexual violence from their partners. The following is the story of Isabela, a 54-year old woman:

Lo conocí en la playa el 30 de noviembre de 1994 (2 días antes del cumpleaños de mi niña). Él me confesó su amor, escribió su nombre y el mío en una palmita. Iniciamos el noviazgo y me sentía feliz pues él era muy detallista . La primera señal me la dio una vez cuando me preguntó si yo podía ser su puta. Me indigné y dijo que era broma. Nos casamos en su país de origen, en Europa. A partir de ahí la historia cambió. Me hizo abandonar mis negocios, por lo que yo tenía que pedirle dinero para todo y él me humillaba cada vez que se lo pedía. Me hizo alejarme de mis hijos pues le molestaba que me visitaran. Me llamaba chopa y me decía que yo estaba engordando. El día que cumplimos cinco años de casados me votó de la casa y me dijo: “Ya tú estás pagada”. Busqué ayuda profesional y hoy soy una mujer nueva.

I met him at the beach on November 30, 1994 (2 days before my daughter's birthday). He said he was in love with me, then he wrote his name and mine on a small palm tree. We started dating and I felt happy because he was very detailed-orientated. The very first sign came after he asked me if I could be his bitch. I was shocked and he said it was a joke. We married in his home country in Europe. From there the story changed. He made me leave my business, so I had to ask for any money for everything and he humiliated me every time it was requested. He made me distance myself from my children since he was bothered they visited me. He called me derogatory names and told me that I was getting fat. On our 5th wedding anniversary, he threw me out of the house telling me: “You're already paid for.” I sought professional help and today I am a new woman.

Prevención de Violencia Intrafamiliar, Guayaquil [es] didn't receive an award, but was recognized with the First Honorable Mention. The blog is written by Juan Robles Chang , a psychologist, and he comments about the different approaches and the theories of the prevention of domestic violence as a science. He offers some pictures of the dialogue as International Day against Child Abuse took place back in November 2008.

These blogs are helping Ecuadorians not to remain silence regarding domestic abuse.

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