“Un Violador En Tu Camino”: Chilean Women Say No


Y la culpa no era mía, ni dónde estaba, ni cómo vesía

“and it wasn’t my fault, not where I was, nor what I wore”

 

On the 20th of November 2019, a group of women wearing blindfolds and bandannas staged a protest in Valparaíso, Chile. Amid the widespread anti-government protests in Chile, the anthem “A Rapist in Your Path” was born. Created by a local feminist collective LasTesis, the anthem shines a spotlight on the spread of femicide, rape and impunity in cases of violence against women in Chile and, by extension, Latin America. On November 25th, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, hundreds of women gathered outside the Supreme Court in Santiago and performed the anthem again. The anthem and accompanying choreography have become an international phenomenon. The anthem has been performed in Bogotá, Madrid, Barcelona, London, Paris, Miami, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Berlin, New York and Istanbul. The lyrics to the anthem are explicit in attributing the ubiquitous rape culture and victim shaming to the patriarchy. The power of the performance lies solely in the women recognizing the fault is not theirs. As psychologist Maynné Alexa Cortés noted, the realization is “something impressive, extremely powerful”.

 

Es feminicidio / Impunidad para el asesino

“It’s femicide / Impunity for my killer”

 

Violence against women around the world is well documented. In particular, the data on femicide in Latin America is harrowing. According to the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), in 2018 at least 3,529 women were victims of femicide. This is a jump from the previous year when only 2,795 women were victims. The work of ECLAC is to “make the seriousness of this phenomenon more visible, and show the depth of the patriarchal, discriminatory and violent cultural patterns that are present in the region” as remarked by Alicia Bárcena, ECLAC’s Executive Secretary. She continues, “millions of women in the region have taken to the streets to assert and demand something so basic which is violated: the right to live violence-free lives”. Worldwide, it is estimated by UN Women that in 2016, 87,000 women were intentionally killed, primarily at the hands of an intimate partner or family member. The performance protest is the culmination of women’s continual frustration towards the complicit patriarchal system and the rising number of cases of violence against women.

 

El estado opresor es un macho violador

“The oppressive state is a macho rapist”

 

First performed in Chile, the anthem has resonated with women from different countries, cultures, religions and backgrounds. Videos of the women performing the anthem have been circulated on traditional and social media. The main reaction is of admiration and respect. However, the powerful message of the anthem has also been ridiculed by, ironically, men and the state. In Mexico, an under-17 soccer team was videoed mocking, laughing and dancing to the lyrics. Also in Mexico, a video of two apparent Mexican marines were gyrating and swivelling their hips to the anthem. According to the UN, after Brazil, Mexico is Latin America’s second most dangerous country for women. Between January and July of 2019, at least 1,812 women have been murdered. This is a ratio of 10 women a day. The lack of empathy expressed by the teenagers and supposed marines is disturbing. Just this past Sunday, 8thDecember, around 300 women gathered in the neighbourhood of Kadikoy, Turkey to enact the anthem. The women were met with police in riot gear and shields. Six protesters were detained. Irony abounds.

 

El violador eras tú

“The rapist is you”

 

The systemic violence against women is cause for great concern. The data from ECLAC alone is demonstrating the state is not successfully addressing the glaring issue in the region. Further troubling is the complete lack of respect to women expressing their views by simply singing and dancing on the streets. It goes to the core of the issue that women, whether consciously or subconsciously, are silenced, oppressed and continually viewed as inferior to men. Tragically, this argument has yet to address the violence against women of different nationalities or individuals who identify as LGBTIQA+. The anthem and these women should be applauded for having the courage to face the patriarchal system and in taking back their power and voice.

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Un Violador Eu Tu Camino

 

The patriarchy is a judge

that judges us for being born

and our punishment

is the violence you don’t see.

 

The patriarchy is a judge

that judges us for being born

and our punishment

is the violence you don’t see.

 

It’s femicide.

Impunity for my killer.

This disappearance.

This rape.

 

And it wasn’t my fault, not where I was, nor what I wore.

And it wasn’t my fault, not where I was, nor what I wore.

And it wasn’t my fault, not where I was, nor what I wore.

And it wasn’t my fault, not where I was, nor what I wore.

 

The rapist was you.

The rapist was you.

 

It’s the police.

The judges.

The state.

The president.

 

The oppressive state is a macho rapist.

The oppressive state is a macho rapist.

 

The rapist is you.

The rapist is you.

 

Sleep calmly, innocent girl

Without worrying about the bandit,

Over your dreams smiling and sweet,

Watches your loving cop

 

The rapist is you

The rapist is you

The rapist is you

The rapist is you

 

Lyrics by Dafne Valdés, Paula Cometa, Sibila Sotomayor and Lea Cáceres