Thousands join in “Black Wednesday” protest worldwide to end femicide

16-year-old Lucia Perez was abducted outside her school before being drugged, repeatedly raped and sodomized.


The grim death, which took place along the country’s east coast, was only the most recent example of extreme violence against women in Argentina in recent years. Though the country passed a law against “femicide” in 2012, outlawing domestic violence and honor killings in order to help protect women, violence against women has increased 78% since 2008, according to the report. Earlier this year, Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri announced a series of measures set to begin next year to try and tackle violence against women, such as funding electronic tags for violent men, and creating a network of women’s refuges. In just the past 18 days, 19 women have been killed in Argentina, the Guardian reported.

The protest, known as #MiercolesNegro on social media (Black Wednesday), was organized by the group Una Menos (Not One Less) that has organized two prior protests that drew hundreds of thousands of women to rally against the country’s growing gender violence crisis, according to The Guardian. Demonstrations were held in 80 Argentinian cities on Wednesday, as well as 58 others worldwide, according to Telam. Earlier in the day, workers in Argentina also participated in a one-hour “women’s strike.” “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,’” the march organizers wrote. Machismo is the Spanish word for an exaggerated form of masculinity, which campaigners say engenders attitudes that in their extreme form lead to men killing women.

Pouring rain meant nothing for thousands of Argentinians who wanted to have their voices heard on Wednesday. Neither did the ferocious wind that seemed to come from every direction. Wearing all black, many stopped whatever they were doing in a women-only strike. They revealed tremendous anger for the cultural values that keep macho practices alive here and all over Latin America. But they also showed an anti-establishment rage – some of them even said they are not expecting any sort of change of attitude from the government, despite President Mauricio Macri’s efforts to tackle gender issues. What they wanted, they said, was a cultural change. Wednesday’s demonstration could be a sign that that change is already taking place. Marches in support took place in Mexico, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay to join in protest for the death of Perez and in demanding equality, respect, and safety in the societies in which they live. Online support is being expressed under the hashtags #NiUnaMenos (“not one less”) and #VivasNosQueremos (“we want to live”).

“We are saying ‘enough!’ We won’t go back to being submissive and we won’t tolerate any more of the misogyny or violence that all us women have to deal with,” Sabrina Cartabia, one of the organizers of the march, told The Guardian. Cartabia said the violence was a tactic by the country’s men to try and scare the women back into traditional roles in the home and rearing children. Women have been set on fire or abused by husbands, boyfriends, and family members, the Guardian said.

“It’s not a specific blow by a specific man against one woman in particular, it’s a message to all women to return to our stereotypical roles,” Cartabia said. Women face violence of all kinds all around the world, but in Latin America where “machismo” is rampant, the problem of “femicide” has become particularly worrisome: 7 out of the 10 countries with the highest rates of female murders in the world are in Latin America. In Colombia, a country of 47 million, one woman is killed every other day by femicidal violence. In Argentina, the number is closer to one a day. In Mexico, five a day. Brazil, 15.

The pressure has become unavoidable for politicians who have passed harsher laws to punish femicide in 15 countries. While this is a vital step, it does not change the underlying cause of the violence: the continuum of macho culture, which stands in direct opposition to gender equality.  On the verbal and gestural side of the continuum, men relentlessly catcall and proposition women, so delusional in their efforts that they somehow think women enjoy the attention. On the other, darker side of the continuum, femicide flourishes. This whole continuum has to be obliterated.

“The sooner men realize that women have the right to walk down the street without having lust imposed on them, the sooner femicide will end. The sooner men realize that women can end relationships when they want and that’s the end of it, the sooner femicide will end. And the sooner men realize that women have the right to control their lives, the sooner femicide will end. This can only really come about when men start holding one another accountable.”  – Joe McCarthy, Global Citizen

Read the full article at BBC.






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