Watch where you walk

Watch where you walk

Watch where you walk
we are advised
by folks in the know

don’t do a midnight
or an early hours one

(boyfriends bury
their girlfriends
in backyards)

don’t frequent the hotspots
police cannot be everywhere

behind closed doors
in gated mansions
in ivory towers
be-suited in committees

(you know dangerous areas
places like home like school
like the workplace like)

Watch where you walk
twin knifes mom and sister
famine on the horizon
for millions of children
(what way our grant fiasco)

femicide is the order
women besieged
sexual assault the daily custom
(in the broad light of day)

(a woman or girl raped
every 25 seconds down here)

Watch where you walk
International Women’s Day
and our 16 days anti-abuse campaign
has long since passed us by

Watch where you walk

‘Watch where you walk’ – cops (People’s Post Athlone, 14 March 2017). “Boyfriends bury their girlfriends in backyards” (Cape Times, January 31 2017), “Twin ‘knifes’ mom, sister” (Cape Times, February 6 2017); and “Millions of children are facing famine” (Sunday Argus, January 29 2017)

(Image Credit: 702)

#NiUnaMenos: In Argentina, women declare a general strike against all violence against women

For the past two years, women in Argentina, and elsewhere, have been organizing and mobilizing to end violence against women, gathering under the banner, Ni Una Menos. Not One Woman Less. Today, Wednesday, October 19, 2016, they are organizing a general strike to address and end violence against women, from sexual to cultural to economic violence. The torture and murder of Lucía Pérez is the most recent spark, but the flame has been ongoing and growing. In the streets, alleys, and rooms of Argentina, women dressed in black have declared today is Black Wednesday, #MiércolesNegro: “In your office, school, hospital, law court, newsroom, shop, factory, or wherever you are working, stop for an hour to demand ‘no more machista violence’.” As Ingrid Beck of Ni Una Menos explained, “We’re calling it Black Wednesday because we’re in mourning for all of the dead women, all of the women killed simply for being women.”

Florencia Minici, also of Ni Una Menos, added, “With our rage at the femicide of Lucía in Mar del Plata, at the hatred of the mother who murdered her lesbian daughter, at the stabbing of teenagers in La Boca and with our anger at the repression of the National Congress of Women in Rosario, we call on everyone to come out from our workplaces and our homes … to make visible the femicide and the precarization of women’s lives.”

A communiqué from Ni Una Menos further noted, “Behind the rise and viciousness of the femicidal violence lies an economic plot. The lack of women’s autonomy leaves us more unprotected when we say no and so leaves us as easy targets for trafficking networks or as `cheap’ bodies for both the drug and the retail markets … While the average unemployment in Argentina is 9.3 percent, for women it is 10.5.”

The women of Argentina know and are signaling that violence against women is part of the current government’s neoliberal economic structural adjustment `development’ program. Leaving women without a say is as vulnerable to economic exploitation as to physical violence. Both are part of a political economic program of spectacular death for women. That’s why today’s mobilization is called a work stoppage and is thought of as a general strike, “the first national women’s strike in the country’s history.”

Two weeks ago, on October 4, the women of Poland, dressed in Black, filled the streets. Today, October 19, the women of Argentina are doing the same. For women around the world, Black is the new Black.

#NiUnaMenos #VivasLasQueremos #MiercolesNegro

 

(Image Credit 1: Le Monde) (Image Credit 2: Twitter / @NiUnaMenos)

The forgotten grave of Nadia Vera, Yesenia Quiroz, Nicole, Alejandra, Ruben Espinosa

On Friday, July 31, five people, four women and one man, were tortured and murdered, in the Narvarte neighborhood of Mexico City. The women were raped and tortured and then shot. The women are Yesenia Quiroz Alfaro, a student from Michoacan; Nicole, a Colombian activist; Alejandra, a domestic worker; and Nadia Vera, a human rights activist. The man was Ruben Espinosa, a photojournalist for Proceso, a leading news magazine. Both Espinosa and Vera were public in their investigations and critiques of the powerful in Veracruz, which is one reason they had both fled that state for the presumed safety of the Federal District. Because of the sexual violence and torture against the four women, the State may pursue a case of femicide.

Nadia Vera was a leading member of the Xalapa, Veracruz, section of the #YoSoy132 student and youth movement. She was a social anthropologist. A year ago, after having been beaten by the police and after receiving anonymous death threats, Nadia Vera left Veracruz. In Mexico City, she worked as a cultural promoter in a cultural center and was, by many accounts, “happy for the first time in a long time.” At the same time, she continued her social justice work. When Ruben Espinosa fled Xalapa, he went to stay with his friend and comrade, Nadia Vera.

Nadia Vera was happy, but she also knew that the State was responsible for the violence and death in Veracruz and would crush those who called it out. Eight months ago, she gave an interview with Rompeviento Televisión, which concluded with this statement, “I hold Javier Duarte, the governor of the state of Veracruz, and his entire Cabinet responsible for anything that happens to me and my family … I want to be absolutely clear that it is the responsibility of the State, not of the security forces, because it is the State that is directly responsible for sending them to repress us.”

It is the State that raped and butchered four women in Narvarte last Friday, and everyone knows that. As Vera said earlier in the same interview, “How many journalists have been assassinated, and absolutely nothing has been done? How many students? How many activists? How many human rights defenders have been assassinated or disappeared? We have an impressively high level of disappearances.” Nadia Vera went on to explain that in Xalapa, and in Veracruz generally, the State and the narcotraffickers worked hand in glove, and that journalists, students, activists, human rights defenders were trying to survive and thrive somewhere in the spaces between the State hand and the narco glove.

That interview was titled, “Veracruz: la fosa olvidada”. Veracruz: the forgotten grave. Five more people are being laid into that forgotten grave, four women, one man. I want to be absolutely clear that it is the responsibility of the State.

 

(Video Credits: Vimeo / Rompimiento Televisión)

Nobel Women’s Initiative: Statement to condemn the assassination of a women’s human rights defender in Ciudad Juarez

As women Nobel Peace Laureates, we are gravely concerned about the murder of human rights defender Marisela Escobedo Ortiz last 16 December 2010, while she protested the continued impunity in the homicide of her daughter Rubi Marisol Frayre Escobedo.

Rubi’s boyfriend murdered the 16-year-old in August 2008. As demonstrated by numerous national and international reports, the authorities acted in the same manner as they have acted in the last 17 years in reaction to the murder of women: they did not investigate nor punish the assassin, even though her mother provided all proof and even presented the confessed assassin.

We are particularly concerned that Marisela Ortiz Escobedo’s murder took place as we reach the one-year anniversary of the Inter-American Human Rights Court’s judgment against the Mexican State for not preventing and duly investigating the violence against women in Ciudad Juarez – the disappearances, sexual violence, and murders of women as well as the aggression against family members and defenders who demand justice for these cases.

As the Inter-American Court points out in its sentence, Mexico has maintained its discriminatory culture and policies against women, which are the primary cause of femicide and subsequent impunity. Between 1993 and 2001, the years analyzed in the Campo Algodonero judgment, there were 214 registered cases of women murdered in Ciudad Juarez. The journalistic register from 1 January to 15 December 2010 shows 297 women murdered in that same city—an alarming increase. Almost all of the cases go unresolved. Mexican authorities have not initiated the effective implementation of the provisions in the Inter-American Court’s judgment, as evidenced by these unfortunate events.

We know that this is not an isolated case, and that the violence against the human rights defenders who bravely fight against femicide in Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua is a constant issue in Mexico.We are alarmed that the demands for justice and the denouncing of gender discrimination threaten the integrity and life of the victims’ families and human rights defenders in Mexico. We know that Marisela Ortiz Escobedo’s family continues to live in imminent danger.

We call on the government of Mexico to take action, without delay, to ensure justice, effectively comply with the Campo Algodonero judgment, and prevent any attacks on the families of the victims and human rights defenders.

Betty Williams, Ireland (1976)

Mairead Maguire, Ireland (1976)

Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Guatemala (1992)

Jody Williams, USA (1997)

Shirin Ebadi, Iran (2003)

Wangari Maathai, Kenya (2004)

For more information, please contact: Rachel Vincent, Nobel Women’s Initiative 613-569-8400, ext. 113 or 613-276-9030

 

Thanks to Just Associates and the Nobel Women’s Initiative for sharing this, and for their work and labor. This first appeared here: http://www.nobelwomensinitiative.org/images/stories/Mexico/STatement_Jan_17_2011.pdf