#NiUnaMenos : Violence Does Not have Borders and Silence can Kill
"Fue un macho patriarcal, no un crimen pasional"
(it was a patriarchal male, not a crime of passion)
That was one of the chants heard at Trocadero in Paris this past 13th of August, a date which in Perú will be from now on emblematic of the fight against femicide, gender-based violence and the indifference of the state’s judicial system.
Close to 150 people gathered in the French capital in solidarity with the Peruvians that would be marching the same day in Lima. At the national level around half a million people attended. Worldwide manifestations were seen in at least 24 cities.
I didn’t think to see so many people. I never thought to see so many women of different ages, nationalities and races gathered in this forum. Testimonies. Performances. Righteous anger. The truth is that it surprised me, maybe due to my ignorance, to see so many people in unity and organization in a city where the Peruvian community is not that visible. I was moved. Bolivian, Brazilian, French and probably people from other nationalities, joined to support the cry of the Peruvian organizers.
Below are photographs from the manifestation in Paris of August 13th
The main faces of the movement come from two cases that caused scandal. One of them was that of Arlette Contreras, a woman who was dragged by the hair and beaten by her former partner - who also tried to sexually abuse her - and only received a sentence of one year of suspended prison. The second was that of Lady Guillen, who has been fighting for four and a half years only to see his aggressor on vacation the day of the march.
In addition to Arlette and Lady Guillen, we cannot forget the case of Maria Elena Chumbimune, killed by Erick Espinal who had been accused of attempted murder 6 months before (the case was stopped because the complainant Marilyn Díaz did not have the financial means to continue). Neither can we forget the murder of Zuleimy Sanchez, a 14 year old trans girl killed last May 31 in the city of Trujillo.
The suffering of these and many other women - sadly, too many to try to mention them all here - motivated the call to action. What began with a simple chat on Facebook is now an international movement that shows that Peruvian women know how to be courageous.
Courageous because breaking the silence also kills. In a country where violence perpetuated against women is normalized and where the judiciary is indifferent and structurally works in a sexist way, women who openly fight against violence, as seen in the case of Milagros Rumiche, risk being killed. Breaking the silence is dangerous.
"We can not remain silent before any act of violence on the grounds that the case is lost or that the system does not work. Doing so is to allow unpunished abuse of people who think they are above the law and it is also putting to oblivion crimes of femicide and violence" tells me Luz Ccasihue Alcantara, student in international cooperation in education and training here in Paris.
Interviews and photos by Alexandra Butrón-Landivar.
For more information and new about the advancements of #NiUnaMenos Perú: