Stop Violence Against Women the World Over

Stop Violence Against Women

Se empieza cediendo con las palabras. —Esperanza, mi esposa
We begin to yield with words. —Esperanza, my wife

Psychology 101: we begin the desensitization process the moment we incorporate into our daily vocabulary words and comments, jokes or phrases that belittle women; even if the remarks or phrases seemed insignificant. The same applies for the intolerance towards other people who are different than us. We begin to yield with words to negative thoughts and sentiments. That’s where violence and intolerance begins; bigoted and discriminatory words as seeds.

Guatemala is a very sick country. Guatemala began its desensitization with the civil war sparked by a coup orchestrated by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the 1954 Guatemalan coup d’état. Guatemala was forced to assimilate ultra violence as normality. Nowadays, there are more violent acts than during the civil war years. We are so desensitized now that we see all kinds of weapons everyday, everywhere, and we see them as normal; as part of the scenery, part of the landscape. No wonder that not too long ago Prensa Libre reported that Guatemala was the fourth most violent country in Latin America.

As I write these words, I hear shotguns go off in our colonia, residential neighborhood, as part of “safety” procedures. Every night the shotguns are fired; bullet the blue sky. Who came up with this absurd idea that we will be safer by firing shots in the middle of the night, in the middle of our neighborhood, in the middle of our dreams, in the middle of our hearts. Who? I want to know! I demand to know. How did we get here?

I do not want to hear gun shots as normal. I refuse to take violent acts as normal. I do not want to be desensitized towards all the manifestations of violence. I do not want to see naked guns on the streets; at the entrance of banks; with every delivery truck; at shops and every tiendita in the country.

I do not want to be part of the problem. I will not yield to words that belittle women or other people. I will not. I want to be part of the solution.

I have been invited to participate in a blogging campaign under the name of Únete para poner fin a la violencia contra las mujeres (Unite to put an end to the violence against women). We at AntiguaDailyPhoto are happy to be part of this campaign.

At AntiguaDailyPhoto I shared with you about the documentary Killer’s Paradise by Director Giselle Portenier on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in 2006. I also mentioned the No más campaign by Amnesty International to stop the killings of women in Guatemala; again in 2006.

This is a fragment of what I wrote then:

To me, it is unacceptable that the government and the police forces do so little or nothing to protect women. Last year [2005] over 665 women were killed and there was not a single arrest for them. I support the NO MÁS (no more) campaign and the new law project now in the Guatemalan Congress to protect women’s safety and integrity.

In 2009, there will be a major campaign to eliminate the violence against women the world over. This campaign begins tomorrow in Guatemala City. I will be bringing you campaign program updates and links to blogs with information and supporting this campaign.

18 de noviembre

Círculo de Reflexión con Columnistas, en el marco de la Campaña.
Expositoras: Doctora Nadine Gasman, directora Fondo de Población de Naciones Unidas.
Doctora Ana Silvia Monzón, del movimiento social de mujeres en Guatemala. 7:30 a.m.

22 de noviembre.

Festival por la Vida de las Mujeres en el Parque Central, frente a la puerta principal del Palacio Nacional. 14:00 p.m. en adelante. Organiza independientemente del Lanzamiento la Coordinadora 25 de Noviembre.

Stop Violence Against Women Stop Violence Against Women

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  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/godoyarturo Arturo Godoy

    I totally join these efforts… I am most glad and proud to be part of this.

    Sometimes I’ve believed that most of the world’s problems are due to approximately half of the humanity: men. By this I mean that there is some tendency of men to not understand women, hence starting a series of problems regardless of the culture, or any background. Since, mutual understanding may not take place, resentment may arise and may be channeled in actions that can very well be violent. How can we, as all humans, not strive for peace and understanding if we don’t start with our counterpart?

    Men, regardless of the sexuality, seem to still be testosterone driven. This drive maybe the one affecting any kind of immediate relationship, so just maybe the frustrations caused by lack of understanding end up being reflected violently, and unfortunately women pay for this. It is not fair. It is still a men driven world, it is still not fair. As nature itself shows us, balance/equilibrium is found in every case, even ecologically. So, where is the balance?

    I may be wrong, I just hope to be wrong. Laura and Manolo, please provide some more insight…

    By the way Rudy, I love your wife’s quote!!!

  • http://eaganDailyPhoto.blogspot.com leif hagen

    I really like your photos of life in Antiqua! Those women’s dresses are beautiful and I imagine their laughs and personalities match their outfits!

  • Eric

    Gracias, muchas gracias, Rudy, para este articulo. Recently, I had an opportunity to attend a meeting where the guest speaker was a survivor (Que raro, no?) of the violence in my (okay, I’ve said it! MY!) beloved Guate. I only spoke to her for a brief moment after her speech, but she reminded me about the parts of Guate that I see very little of, and understand even less.
    Please keep us posted about the organizations and events mentioned as part of the solution. Beautiful colors in the photos, and very informative post.

  • Stephanie

    Thank you for such a powerful post (and photos). As someone who has worked (professionally) in the movement to end violence against women for about two decades, I am always encouraged when I see others speaking out about these issues — especially when I hear from people who are speaking out in their everyday lives.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sheila.fernandes Sheila Fernandes

    What an inspirational post. Please let us know what we can do to help. The pics are beautiful.

  • http://www.facebook.com/emromesco Manolo

    Don Rudy, ahora si te mandaste, ya viste, no me necesitas por aca ni para los posts profundos ni para la psicoloquera :-P
    Now the serious comment: I actually was just talking to someone (my therapist, but don’t tell anyone ;-) ) of how sometimes I feel I “escaped” Guate and one of the reasons was that *expletive* machismo, just to find that it is a universal problem. @Arturo, I could agree with your observation about men, but that will mean diminishing myself, and by not respecting who I am as a male, I wouldn’t be able to respect the other (male or female). Respect begins at home, and oneself is the first one to respect.
    Does this make sense or is it just my “patient” persona?

  • Pingback: Stop Violence Against Women in Guatemala | AntiguaDailyPhoto.Com()

  • http://giramonda.com/ Laura McNamara

    As a working professional, I wouldn’t be able to count the number of times I felt I’ve landed a job because I’m a blonde-haired, blue-eyed “beauty” instead of a capable person for the job (fortunately I have a sound portfolio to back that up.) Also, I tend to have a ton of male friends as I am quite “tom-boyish” myself. Men often include me even when other women aren’t included. Instead of being a “cool CHICK” however, I am “one of the BOYS.” Why does it have to be “one of the BOYS” for me to be accepted? I also play a lot of sports and can play futbol (soccer) with any man. When men acknowledge that I can play though, more often than not I still get the infamous “yeah, you’re good… FOR A GIRL.” Ahem, a girl that just left you in the dust! Pffff…

    I would have to heartily agree with Arturo. It still is very much a ‘Man’s World.’ And as a woman who tends to get a little further into the ‘Man’s World’ than most, I would definitely affirm it’s because they see it that I behave more like “one of the boys” instead of acknowledging that I’m just “being myself” and that perhaps I’m just “one cool CHICK.” ;)

    Even then, there are many (even good friends) that don’t really get past their stereotype of me just being the blonde-haired, blue-eyed ornament that has a largely decorative place in the social hierarchy.

  • http://giramonda.com/ Laura McNamara

    P.S. Rudy I really like the second thumbnail on this post…

  • http://giramonda.com/ Laura McNamara

    P.S.S. I will say women have one way of counteracting this (when violence isn’t involved). Patience. The amount of patience women show toward men, others and the world often drowns that of what men show. And, that’s a huge tool that women use to eventually assert their value and place in this world.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/emromesco Manolo

    Tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre… here is a post in Spanish (with links to sites in English) about the event:
    http://eltoronteco.blogspot.com/2007/12/no-somos-feministas.html

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  • Aloha

    I just returned to my home from Guatemala last night.  I was there from 17 Dec-22 Jan.  I am a labyrinth facilitator & b/f the trip I researched if there were any labyrinths in Guatemala that I could go in search of.  What my results yeilded was a play called the Labyrinth of Butterflies that documented violence towards women in Guatemala.  All attempted to find my labyrinth seemed to allude me.  The play only ran until the 10 Dec., so I missed seeing it.  I diligently searched through ancient & historical ruins, caves, temples, cathedrals, volcanoes; I felt my search was in vain.  Because I have very limited grasp of the spanish language any posts around Antigua regarding the event went unnoticed.  I’m a member of the Business & Professional Women in the tiny island of the Caribbean called Cayman Brac.  Our sponsorship is Women’s Rights & Advocacy for Victims of Abuse.  Myself being a survivor, this is something very near & dear to my heart.  I would’ve given anything to have participated in this historical event of the human chain scaling the Volcan Agua.  I would’ve even designed a heart-shaped labyrinth for the organization had I the opportunity & the organizers wished it.  I walked into town in Antigua Saturday afternoon (21st) & knew by the many buzzing helicopters & the swollen population of peoples in the streets (most wearing Subvida de Vida tee-shirts that something monumental was taking place.  We enjoyed the many cultural street shows & performances along with the rest of the throngs.  It wasn’t until we returned back to our Antiguan home that evening & were watching BBC news that we realized we had passed through this historical event.  I realize, though I didn’t take part in the climb, I did indeed find my labyrinth!   I would dearly love to be included in any future events if travel & time is possible, to be kept to date for any means & methods to help promote this cause.  I write for a small newspaper in the Cayman Islands & am a published author.  My book’s theme was also about the desenitizing of human thought process.  My travel to Guatemala was not only recreational, but for medical reasons as well.  It is because of the marvelous sights left unseen & future medical needs that I will be returning hopefully many times in the future.  Could you please help me enlist in your cause & put me in contact with the source of contact I would need to reach for being added as a participant in upcoming events or information forwarded.  Again, my handle on spanish is limited (Bing provides translations), so if I could be put in touch with English speaking agents, it would be greatly appreciated.  More power to you for your benevolent programme & inspiring heart!
    Kathleen Bodden-Harris