Across Central America, online campaigns and activities to raise awareness about the issue of violence against women are taking place across the region.
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.
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 [in Spanish] 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.
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 [in Spanish]. Journalist Montserrat Boix features several organizations working on the issue in the country, and also highlights the recent Law Against Femicide passed in 2009 [in Spanish].
Guatemalan blogger Ixmucane of Cine Sobre Todo writes about migrant women, who are especially vulnerable to violence [in Spanish]:
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.
Rejection of violence
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 [in Spanish] 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:
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
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.
This blog-post was originally published at Global Voices Online on November 26, 2009.
International Lawyer, Lead of Creative Commons Guatemala, directing Primer Palabra http://primerpalabra.com Interested in a Shared Culture, Open Education, Free Culture and Human Rights in the Digital Environment.