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Central America: Saying No to Violence Against Women

Across Central America, online campaigns and activities to raise awareness about the issue of Violence Against Women are taking place across the region. Many of these efforts are attracting the interest and participation of bloggers who share their thoughts on this issue.

Photo by Rudy Girón of Antigue Daily Photo and used under a Creative Commons license.

Photo by Rudy Girón of Antigue Daily Photo and used under a Creative Commons license.

In Guatemala, the Multi-Annual Campaign (extended from 2008 to 2015) of the Regional Chapter, “JOIN together to put an End to Violence against Women” was recently launched, and Radio Feminista is reporting on the event at the collaborative space Fin a la Violencia (End to Violence). In addition, the organization Take Back the Tech is promoting a 16-day blogathon by taking over the blogosphere to discuss topics related to violence against women and ways to prevent it through the use of technology. Anyone can join the network and blog about the subject, from any place, in any language.

Honduras

When a crisis arises across the world, it often leaves women more vulnerable as a target for violence. For example, the blog Género con Clase [es] from Honduras republishes an article written by Tacuazina Morales, who writes that there was an increase of violence and brutality against women just after the coup. This was due in part to the “state of non-protection that victims found themselves and the weakening of the institutions responsible for the protection of the human rights of the women.” According to Feministas en Resistencia, there were approximately 400 cases of violence against women during the demostrations against the coup, including 23 sexual assaults, some of which had the involvement of state security forces.

Guatemala

In neighboring Guatemala, impunity, which is the non-prosecution or punishment of perpetrators, is the most serious consequence of this phenomenon. Up to 97% of the cases of violence against Guatemalan women are not prosecuted according to the blog Género con Clase [es]. Journalist Montserrat Boix features several organizations working on the issue in the country, and also highlights the recent Law Against Femicide passed in 2009 [es].

Guatemalan blogger Ixmucane of Cine Sobre Todo [es] writes about migrant women, who are especially vulnerable to violence:

Unas de las situaciones en las que las mujeres están más indefensas es en la migración, porque están lejos del círculo familiar que las proteje, no conocen las leyes y muchas veces tampoco el idioma. Insisto que cuando hablo de migración, hablo de la migración dentro del país como hacia el extranjero. Y lo peor es que no se quiere defraudar a la familia que se queda, ya que ellos dependen muchas veces económicamente de ellas.

One of the situations in which women are the most defenseless is migration, because they are far from the family circle that protects them, they do not know the laws, and many times they do not know the language. When I write about migration, I mean migration within the country, as well as abroad. What even worse, is that they do not want to let down the family that were left behind, because many of the family members depend economically on the women.

In the Catholic Church, a novena is a devotion consisting of prayer typically said on nine successive days, asking to obtain special graces, so Julio Serrano of the blog Fellinada [es] wrote a series of nine articles or “a novena” to unveil the complexities of violence against women. He also asks for the grace to replace violence with words of love: he used as his prayers, nine real stories of different kinds of violence against women and he ends with these thoughts:

Finalmente, no es un golpe bajo hablar del amor en este día, es una postura radical, política, amar es un acto social. Desde mi masculinidad y reivindicando a la mujer en mí, y a la mujer en el otro, y a las mujeres cercanas y lejanas, a mi mamá, a mi novia, a mis amigas, a mis hermanos, a mi papá, a mis amigos, y a aquellas tres hermanas y a lo que representan para nosotros hoy, para ustedes estas palabras llenas de amor”

Finally, it is not a low blow to talk about love these days, it is a radical and political position, to love is a social act. From my masculinity and vindicating the woman in me and the woman in others, and to those women close and far away from me, my mother, my girlfriend, my friends, my brothers, my father, my friends, and for those three sisters and what they mean for us today, for all of you, my words full of love”
Photo by Rudy Girón of Antigua Daily Photo and used under a Creative Commons license

Photo by Rudy Girón of Antigua Daily Photo and used under a Creative Commons license

Rudy Girón of the blog Antigua Daily Photo made a statement about why we should reject violence as something normal, and why we should take that as a starting point to be part of the solution to solve the problem of violence against women:

I do not want to hear gun shots as normal. I refuse to take violent acts as normal. I do not want to be desensitized towards all the manifestations of violence. I do not want to see naked guns on the streets; at the entrance of banks; with every delivery truck; at shops and every tiendita (store) in the country. I do not want to be part of the problem. I will not yield to words that belittle women or other people. I will not. I want to be part of the solution.

The world has changed again, bringing more complex problems to the forefront to be solved, but because of the internet there are also more voices to join the conversation who add their ideas for solutions. Even the most marginalized in society, poor, indigenous women are fighting for their rights as described by the blog of Guatemala Solidarity so it is time to say no to violence and say yes to a more equal society.

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