From Nicaragua: Ten Pearls that Should Not Come Out of Their Shell

Whether as journalists or as people making judgments, it is important to put the crimes committed against women at the center of the debate.

By Sylvia Torres   (Confidencial)

Images and testimonies of violence. Photo: Carlos Valle/

HAVANA TIMES – Less than a hundred meters from my house there is an evangelical church in which the congregation sings with good rhythm and accompanies with palms: The word has power, has power, has power.

They refer to the word of Jesus, but what is said applies to the human and the divine. Each time we publish a news item, an entry in Facebook, or an opinion in a publication, we are playing at being divinities creating worlds in our image and likeness.

With the word visions of the world are created, strengthened or recreated, meanings or concepts are transmitted. In the case of relations between women and men, these concern the duties for each. For example, meanings circulate that associate virility with brutality, action and domination; while they link the feminine with submission, passivity, humility, and modesty, among other aspects.

Stuart Hall, that great Jamaican cultural theorist and sociologist, says that “to represent involves connecting meaning and language. When we represent we are showing the world to other people.”

The word describes, and from similarities, senses or meanings are brought to the mind or imagination, which take the place of what you want to represent. For example, the photo of the 1980s that shows a young peasant woman breastfeeding while carrying an AK 47 rifle represents for many people the integration of women mothers, wives in the defense of the nation. The image takes the place of nationalism.

When a man kills or hits a woman these meanings are activated and it ends up legitimizing the brutal male action of a man against women. And how does this happen? It happens because in the processing of thought the visual perception is decoded in terms of the concepts that you already have in the head, these activate emotions, and the emotions are reflected in habits that in turn reflect compartments. In this way, in the communication comments are issued that are terrible “pearls” such as:-

-What a disaster of a woman, she got involved with a policeman and he hit her; she got involved with another guy and he killed her.
-Besides, it was the lover, not even the officer who killed her.
-It’s no fault of the system or anything! Nobody forced her to get involved with him, she chose badly.
-Why didn’t she drop him? I would have immediately ended the relationship.
-Why did she remain silent and not denounce him at the time? (an argument used frequently in cases of harassment or sexual or labor abuse).
-How could you fall in love with that imbecile?
-Where was the mother?
-She looked for it
-For ignoring parents, or mothers.
-That’s what happens to tramps!

By that same mechanism of representation through words, which awakens the emotion and results in judgment, is that these expressions condemn the victims. Therefore, whether as journalists fulfilling the duty to inform well, or as people making judgments, it is important to put the crime committed against women at the center of the debate.

Instead of making a quick judgment on the behavior of the victim, we must focus on the crime of the aggressor. For example, use “Murderous Man”, which denounces the act committed by the criminal, and not “Woman dies” (we do not die, they kill us). And it’s not a matter of form, it’s not fair to judge and sink the victim. The word has power. When issuing this type of judgment what results is the justification of the aggressors.

It is not “a crime provoked by jealousy”, it is femicide. And, dear progressives, although the terms ungrateful, intolerant, and feminazi jump on the tip of your tongue, don’t let them out. Help, they are killing us and there cannot be a democratic society based on the oppression of women and violence. The word has power; let’s not let these pearls escape from the precious shell of our brains.

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