Our rage is legitimate

Our rage is legitimate

Oriana López Uribe


Photo Credit: Brenda Arriaga @bwithacamera

(This article was originally posted in spanish here: https://politica.expansion.mx/voces/2019/08/22/columnainvitada-nuestra-rabia-es-legitima)

Without a doubt, Mexico is a violent country. Former president Felipe Calderon’s security policy put us in a state of war. This week, we have managed to place on the agenda a sensitive part of that violence: violence against women. We went to the streets furious both Monday, August 12 and Friday 16, because we need a real response from the authorities towards the sexual violence recently  committed by police officers in Mexico City. Instead of this, the mobilizations were received with unsympathetic messages towards the victims, their families and against the women’s and feminist movement. A movement that has proven to be cohesive even though it is so widely diverse. Where one person cannot be criminalized; All forms of protest are legitimate. The mobilization on Friday, August 16 was echoed throughout the country, as a way of addressing gender violence together, because we know that it is a deeper issue, one that we have been trying to place in the public eye since the rise of feminicides in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua.

The violence exerted by rapists and feminicides is one which in this country remains unpunished, tolerated, and socially invisible. Hence, the feminist movements responded with broken objects, scratches on monuments and fire. I urge you to not focus on these distractions, these acts are a tool we have to get the attention of the media and thus urge society to listen to our outrage.

An outrage that is legitimate.  For decades we have fought to stop violence against women in a country where, according to UN figures, at least 6 out of 10 Mexican women have faced an incident of violence; 41.3% of women have been victims of sexual violence and, in their most extreme form, 9 women are murdered daily.

Our rage is legitimate because we know that when a woman has been raped, the solution will not be as fast as using the soap that has already cleaned the Angela of Independence. It is an angry rage because when a woman is killed there is no solution that can stop the pain or bring her back.

Our so-called justice system is not giving women justice, it is filtering the data of the victims, it is omitting to take DNA samples to be able to do a due process, it is being complicit in machismo, it is asking the victims to go through cruel treatment.

We need joint work spaces between government, civil society (organized or not), academy and survivors. There can be no protagonists in a movement that demands justice and equality. We need to hear the voices coming from schools, neighborhoods and work spaces where concrete solutions can be achieved and are not just a media act. The government needs to ensure safe spaces where we can share perspectives and work, where our physical integrity is safeguarded.

We need to have a methodology of working together with the government, to find ways of being able to do justice, but a justice framed and understood from the perspective and needs of the victims.

What matters to us is that violations by state agents are not repeated. We are interested in thinking of ways from a restorative justice framework that care for victims and their families. We want actions that lead to the prevention of violence, recognizing that this involves us all, people and institutions and that this investment is the most important, determining and long-term: education to deconstruct and get rid of gender stereotypes, to question unequal power relations, to give us tools for non-violent conflict resolution. An education that gives us skills to live in a diverse and plural society, at peace.