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“NI UNA MENOS” (Not One Less), Hypocrisy or Truth?

In 1995 Susana Chavez wrote a poem which had this phrase: “Not one death more.” She wrote with the goal of protesting the killing of women in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Later, artists, journalists, and writers took the phrase and converted it into “ni una menos” (not one fewer) which means not one more woman killed. Recently, the phrase has been used to convoke mobilizations against the murder of women in countries such as Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay.

Because of the alarming situation in Peru, where there are many cases of femmicide, today, the 13th of August 2016 groups of youths, women, men, as well as public and private institutions organized large and peaceful marches in strategic gathering places to protest against gendered violence, specifically violence against women. They also wish to make visible in a massive fashion as never before the very long struggle of the women’s movement for equality at all levels.

Using social media, citizens and activists called for all Peruvians to participate in the Ni una menos march. The mobilization is a reaction to the specific and recent cases of Cindy Contreras and Lady Guillén who were abused by their former partners who received unfairly reduced sentences in the courts and then freedom after having attempted to murder their girlfriends.

These events have generated a discussion about gender violence. Walls for expression, formal conversations, video forums, have all been carried out prior to the great march. They have mobilized feelings of indignation for the answer of the Peruvian State to the violence against women and solidarity with all those who have suffered any kind of violence, whetehr sexual, psychological, economic, or physical.

Marcha: Ni Una Menos
Marcha: Ni Una Menos

What is the message of the march’s organisers?

“We are all the girls who every night are felt up by their fathers, the adolescent raped by her uncles, the woman beaten by her partner. We all are the girl with the bruised lips and torn clothes who was asked by the police what she had done to provoke the violence. We all are the more than 2074 women un-voluntarily sterilized. They touch one of us and they touch us all. For that reason, we will mobilize on the 13th of August.”

The national march demands the system of justice “put on its long pants”, to use the misogynist expression which is latent in our language and which mean to do what is needed. This includes carrying out it international treaties and obligations about the erradication of all kinds of violence, that they powers of the state protect victims, that no crime of violence be met with impunity. Above all, it demands silence never again be an accomplice to society.

I wonder: Will this march change this situation of violence

I hope so, because it is important that the abuse of women in the streets stops, along with mistreatment of children, and sexual trafficking. May the media stop using the body of women as merchandise. May violence never again be justified. May there be no more Ciprianis (Peru’s Catholic Cardinal) who justify sexual violence with this sad phrase “women place themselves as a display and provoke” or like this other phrase from a Peruvian congress member “If there has been sexual violence, you can just wash your vagina”.

How many of those men who go out to protest today have the custom of making piropos (cat calls) at women in the streets, mistreat their daughters, wife, or mother, watch television programs where they think it fun to see almost naked women, think that women are not good at some job or another, think that women are meant for the kitchen, etc. What they may not know is that those things are also considered gendered violence.

In my opinion, if one really wants to change our society where violence is the bread of every day, he should begin at home with a good education enriched with values that emphasizes respect for women in order to obtain a society free of violence.

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