Women in Nicaragua Rally against Gender Violence

The women’s purple march

By Danae Vilchez  (Confidencial)

“They are killing us”. Photo: Jorge Torres/EFE

HAVANA TIMES – Thousands of women marched in Managua on March 8, coming together from several parts of the country in commemoration of International Women’s Day. The activity paralyzed the Masaya highway, one of the principal routes of the capital, thus making visible the struggle of the feminist groups.  These groups are demanding that the State and society work to end the widespread violence against women and against the organizations that defend them.

Most of the participants wore purple shirts.  As they advanced, they became a purple-colored human chain, bursting with joy, songs and verses. “Todas las mujeres tenemos un deseo, que la violencia se vaya de paseo,” [“All we women have a wish, that violence should take a hike”] was the demonstrators’ chant.

This march was held in conjunction with the “world women’s strike,” that took place simultaneously in over 48 countries, with the objective of defending women’s struggle for equal gender rights and of demanding that governments carry out concrete actions to stop the wave of machista violence that is plaguing modern society.

In the middle of the tide of people, we encountered a young rural woman holding a small sign with a picture of her 15-month-old baby. “The Police didn’t let me grow up, help me demand justice,” the sign said.

“For a Nicaragua free of femicides”. Photo: Jorge Torres/EFE

Margine Sanchez, mother of Daira Junieth, the little girl in the photo, can’t hide her shyness, although it’s clear that she’s trying to be strong. She talks about the atrocious crime that took the life of her youngest daughter.

The little girl was killed by a volley of gunfire, together with her father, Cairo Blandón, during a police operation last February 5th in the municipality of El Tuma-La Dalia.  More than a month later, the act remains unpunished.

“I’m here to demand justice for my daughter. She died in the same way that my husband did.   It was an act of violence against her, because she’s a child and they came and took her life, just like that.  The government doesn’t respond, they don’t say anything.  What I want is justice for my little girl,” Sánchez states.

Different women’s groups participated in the demonstration, among them movements of rural women, women from the city and sexual diversity groups.

Amalia Artola, part of a young women’s group from Tipitapa, assured that they were marching to give the message: “no more”.

Photo: Jorge Torres/EFE

“Today we’re moved to say “no more femicide”, “no more death”, “no more violence”, “no more discrimination”. We’re in the 21st century, and still women’s rights are being stepped on, we’re not being respected and we’re not given the place we deserve, in society or in the organizations,” Artola indicated.

In Nicaragua, the number of femicides has increased in recent years. The feminist organization Catholics for the Right to Decide has the most current count: 49 murders of women in Nicaragua last year, and 9 more in the first months of 2017.  One of the most alarming was the death of Vilma Trujillo, a young rural woman from Rosita who was burnt in a bonfire by members of her religious congregation.

“Violence against women has grown not only in quantity but also in levels of cruelty. The companies and the State hold rhetorical celebrations, using politically correct language to try and depoliticize the issue, as well as to take away the radical nature of what the commemoration of International Women’s Day really signifies,” declared María Teresa Blandón, a leader in the feminist organization La Corriente [The Current].

“The situation of women in Nicaragua is going backwards in every sense,” the feminist underlined.

The “World Women’s Strike” called on women from all latitudes of the planet to participate.  It began in Argentina, as a proposal from that country’s feminist movement in the face of the cruel killing of a young teenager.  The slogan #NiUnaMenos [Not one less] has found ample echo and opened a debate on the rise of murders and attacks against women. From there, the idea arose of a “day without women” that hoped to call attention to the important role that women play in all arenas.

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