Black men like Argentine women

Latin America#NiUnaMenos - in the fight against feminicide

Thousands of people demonstrate in the streets of Santiago de Chile: women, men, families with children. Some women show their breasts, others have been smeared with fake blood, and many hold up photos of murdered women. A young woman is disguised as Jesus and carries a large cross on her back that reads: "If Jesus had been a woman, they would first have raped him and then crucified." Doris Gonzales, a small woman in her late thirties, also takes part in the protest. For them, the fight against female violence is part of a larger movement:

"We want to show that this system can no longer go on like this. The explicit and implicit violence in this neoliberal system cannot go on like this. We have decided to take to the streets and join the social movement that drives our country just experienced and which is getting bigger and bigger. "

Under the hashtag #NiUnaMenos - in German: Not one less - people have been networking not only in Chile, but all over Latin America to protest against feminicide for months. You name them femicidios - femicides. The term femicide describes the murder of women or girls based on their gender. Femicide occurs most frequently within couple relationships. But the term is intended to draw attention to the fact that it is not a private, but a social problem.

Not only women protest in Santiago, but also many men. Felipe Zuñiga is one of the male protesters. His five-year-old daughter sits on his shoulders and pats his head as he speaks.

"She is my daughter, she has a right to live in a safe country where there is no risk of her going out on the streets and someone murdering her or molesting her. That's why I'm protesting. Because that's her right. And also my right as a father to protect her. "

Many Latin American countries have special laws in place

Many women hold up black and yellow signs. It says "El machismo mata" - machismo kills - or "No más femicidios" - an end to femicides. The signs come from the Chilean network against female violence. Lorena Astudillo is the coordinator of the network. She is sitting in her office in the Casa de la Mujer - the woman's house. It is the oldest house of the Chilean women's movement. Women who experience violence get help here. The network against female violence coined the term femicide. Chile is one of 16 Latin American countries that have passed a femicide law. But Chilean law does not go far enough for Lorena Astudillo.

"The law is bad because our country focuses on the family. Femicide is understood like the murder of a woman by her partner. Nothing more. The power relationships that exist behind it do not matter. For them, there is no such thing. The Legislation in Chile says so, it completely ignores the basic concept of femicide. So many femicides are made invisible and just appear like another murder. "

Lorena Astudillo has long black hair, faded jeans and a colorful top. She is 42 years old and has been involved in femicides for many years. She is a lawyer, but mostly a feminist and activist.

Of the 25 countries with the highest rates of femicide worldwide, 14 are in Latin America and the Caribbean. (imago / ZUMA Press)

"Our struggle today is about understanding that femicide is the maximum expression of male violence against women. These are not isolated cases. We see violence against women in different expressions every day and femicide is the tip of the iceberg this violence "

Of the 25 countries with the highest rates of femicide worldwide, 14 are in Latin America and the Caribbean. Every year over 2000 women are murdered there. And: The number of femicides in Latin America has even increased in recent years - this was the result of a study by the United Nations women's organization UN Women. There is also a high number of attempted murders, which is often forgotten, says Lorena Astudillo.

Demonstration against feminicide in Mexico (picture alliance / dpa / epa Guadalupe Perez)

"The number of attempted femicides has risen sharply. But that remains invisible. These are women who have to live with the dire consequences for the rest of their lives and there is no political framework to make this visible. The worst case in recent times was that of Navila Rifo, a woman whose eyes were scratched out in Cohaique. "

Navila Rifo was attacked one night by her drunken partner, with whom she has four children. He hit her skull with a concrete block and scratched her eyes out with the car key. She is forever blind now.

Create a new awareness

What do I have to change in the future to prevent femicides? Education and training bear the greatest responsibility, emphasizes lawyer and activist Lorena Astudillo.

"They give us girls dolls to play with, a piece of plastic and tell us that it has feelings and that we have to take care of it if we leave it behind, we're angry. And the boys get cars and bicycles and they are congratulated when they do they break their knees or hit their heads. They are there for the risk and we are for the care. First we have to change education. They should not be there to squeeze us into roles, but rather to give us the freedom to just to be who we are. "

Violence against women is not unique to Latin America. In Germany, too, women are murdered because of their gender, but to date there are no nationwide statistics and no official definition of femicide.