Data Activism Against Gender Violence in Latin America

Published in: Anthropology News website (2021)

by Aisha Najera Chesler, Luke J. Matthews

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On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (November 25, 2019), the Chilean feminist collective Las Tesis grabbed the world's attention by performing "Un Violador en Tu Camino" ("A Rapist in Your Path") outside Chile's supreme court. Within months, it was reproduced hundreds of times in 52 countries. American women performed it outside Harvey Weinstein's trial. Female Turkish lawmakers sang it in parliament.

"Patriarchy is our judge/That imprisons us at birth." Chant the blindfolded women. "And our punishment/Is the violence you don't see."

Why did this song resonate across cultures? In an interview, Paula Cometa, a member of Las Tesis, points to an answer: Women's experiences of violence are ignored by state actors-the police, courts, and lawmakers.

In researching and creating the song, Cometa said the group discovered that rape, other violence, and even killing of women just "fade away in the [criminal justice] system." Impunity for femicides extends across Latin America, where misogyny translates to negligent investigations and weak punishment for perpetrators.

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