Things That Matter

A Feminist Flash Mob In Chile Went Viral And Has Sparked A Worldwide Movement Against Violence Towards Women

“El violador eres tú” has become a powerful cry of protest for women around the world. Last week, what started as a heartfelt and chilling, but isolated, performance during a protest against gender-based violence in Chile, became a global sensation. Several clips featuring tens of women chanting “A Rapist In Your Way” went viral, and it’s sparked impassioned protests all around the world.

On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, dozens gathered outside the supreme court building of Santiago, Chile for a feminist flash mob.

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Organized by a local feminist collective, the performance was titled “Un violador en tu camino” (“A rapist in your way”). The song and accompanying dance takes on the patriarchy as the cause both of violence against women and the victim shaming that often comes after. “Y la culpa no era mía, ni dónde estaba, ni cómo vestía,” they sang (“and the fault wasn’t mine, not where I was, not how I dressed”).

The chant addressed the failure of the justice system to protect women.

The lyrics of the chant quote a verse of the Chilean police anthem, “Sleep calmly, innocent girl, without worrying about the bandit. For over your smiling, sweet dreams, watches your loving cop.”

Las Tesis is the Chilean group that organized the flashmob.

The group, Las Tesis, organized the performance which was inspired by the work of renowned Latin American feminist and professor Rita Laura Segato. Her thinking, the group said, moved them to create a flash mob that would show rape not just as a crime against an individual woman, but the expression of a larger social issue.

The protest struck a chord for thousands of women around the world, clips of the Chilean protest went viral in just a matter of hours.

The protest has since spread outside of Chile. In Mexico City, a square full of women of all ages joined a similar flash mob on Nov. 29.

Public performances of the song have also been held in other cities, including Bogotá, Madrid, Barcelona, London, and Paris.

In Spain, the ‘intervention’ as the group calls it, was held in front of the Arc de Triomphe in Barcelona and at the Plaza de Reina Sofia in Madrid.

In Paris, feminists chanted in their native French.

A French feminist collective chanted “Le violeur c’est toi,” in front of the Eiffel Tower. “As feminists in Paris we are responding to the call made by #LasTesis from Chile to raise our voice against femicides and rape!” tweeted a representative of the collective, “The rapist is you, the police, the justice system, the state, the society!” they chanted.

English and Chilean women joined in on the global protest in the UK.

In the UK, women staged an intervention in Bristol as well as in London. A group of Chilean women gathered outside the Chilean Embassy in London to join the protest against sexual violence towards women.

‘A Rapist In Your Way’ was also performed in Berlin.

More women rallied in the German capital to stage another intervention of what has quickly turned into a global protest.

The powerful performance has become an anthem for women everywhere.

‘A Rapist In Your Way’ has sparked a powerful movement of people who simply ask for respect, for justice and equality, for an end to impunity. What was originally just a one-day event to protest locally, has evolved into a worldwide movement and has made women acutely aware of their power, but also of the commonalities of the injustices they all suffer —no matter their geographic location.

“I’m fighting for myself, for my generation of young people and for the generation of my daughter,” Belifet Antones, who participated in the intervention performance of Mexico City with her two-year-old daughter, told the newspaper El Universal. “I believe that women carrying out these kinds of protests can achieve something better for us women… I don’t want to leave this violent Mexico to my daughter… I don’t want anybody to murder her, to rape her,” she said.

Mexico is the most dangerous country for women in the world.

Ten women are killed on average every day in Mexico, making the country one of the most dangerous for females in the world. Acknowledging the protest, Mexico City’s Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum reiterated her government’s commitment to do everything possible to ensure that the capital is a safe city for women. Just last week, the mayor issued a gender alert for Mexico City, activating a range of measures to address violence against women, after much pressure from several marches and protests that took place this 2019.

People Are Outraged After A Mexican Football Club Mocked The Global Feminist Protests Against The Patriarchy

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People Are Outraged After A Mexican Football Club Mocked The Global Feminist Protests Against The Patriarchy

Cultura Colectiva

Among Mexican premier league soccer teams perhaps the one that generates the most passionate responses from both fans and detractors is the Club América. Based in the southern part of Mexico City, the team is owned by the omnipresent media company Televisa. Its players and followers are sometimes infamous for having a pretentious attitude and feeling like they are better than everyone else. They are sort of the Yankees of Mexican soccer.

So it came as no surprise when the team’s players engaged in yet another controversy, showing little respect for women and almost zero awareness of how pressing it is to acknowledge, denounce and solve the many crimes against women in the country, from sexual assault and harassment to kidnappings, family violence and murder.  It is not easy to be a woman in Mexico, and it is an act of courage, but also desperation, to protest as loudly as possible. 

So the players from the under-17 team of Club América mocked the feminist performance through which women in France, Spain, Chile, Mexico and many other countries are denouncing the abusive patriarchy.

Credit: Resumen Latinoamericano

This dance is called “Un violador en tu camino” (A rapist on your path) and denounces victim blaming while stating, in a very powerful and crude manner, that the real guilt should be placed on rapists. It is not a woman’s fault regardless of what she was wearing or where she was at the time when she was abused. Women from all around the world have made this a viral phenomenon and a symbol of the post #metoo era. To protest like this publicly is a courageous act that should never be minimized or mocked. They are mothers, daughters, friends, girlfriends and sisters of some of the very men who they are protesting against. 

So what did the young dudes from the Club América do? They dared to parody the dance. Seriously, WTAF carnalitos? It is never OK to just say “boys will be boys.”

A video which was made viral in Mexican social media shows the young players shirtless in the locker room, parodying the feminist anthem. And even though some might say that boys will be boys, this is in no way justifiable.

Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries for women, with feminicides running rampant not only in the city of Ciudad Juarez, where hundreds of women have been killed since the 1990s, but also in Mexico City and the neighboring State of Mexico, where domestic violence seems to be an everyday crime that most of the times goes unpunished. So no, boys will be boys, will not cut it and the players deserve all the backlash that they received on social media, where women (and men) awarded them with all kinds of insults that stress their discriminatory and harmful actions. 

The soccer team published a press release stating that this would not go unpunished.

Credit: Cultura Colectiva News

The team released an official message saying that there needs to be a change and that they would educate players on issues such as gender violence and a correct use of social media. They also stated that the players would be punished, perhaps by leaving them on the bench for a few games. Some of the players have also publicly apologized. Player Omar Lomeli, for example, said that he wasn’t intending to insult the feminist movement and that he would enrol in workshops to understand gender issues. However, it remains to be seen whether this is an isolated incident or if there is indeed, as we would be inclined to suspect, a serious issue of misogyny in the world of sports. 

“Locker room talk” is a sign of toxic masculinity in the world of male professional sports.

The locker rooms seem to be a sort of safe space to basically be nasty and express xenophobic, homophobic and incendiary views (we are sure you have read the expression “locker room talk”). The video might just be the tip of the proverbial iceberg, an accidental look into a world in which young men are encouraged to be hypercompetitive and demonstrate their masculinity, as toxic as it might be, on a daily basis. The change has to come from within and a few pep talks won’t do it.

And this is not exclusive of Mexican soccer, for example, other sports leagues, such as the Australian Football League, have faced serious crisis in which their players have expressed appalling world views or engaged in systematic sexual abuse. Let us not forget that historically damaging comments such as “grab them by the pussy” have been dismissed as mere “locker room talk” even in the highest echelons of power. We are all well aware of where a lack of accountability regarding this leads. 

Revolutionary Energy Has Reached Chile And The People Are Fighting To Take Their Country Back

Things That Matter

Revolutionary Energy Has Reached Chile And The People Are Fighting To Take Their Country Back

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There is no question that Latin America is in the midst of a revolution. It seems as if there is a battle between extreme-right governments and the people, except the governments have tear gas. Puerto Ricans revolted against their corrupt Gov. Ricardo Rossello, and successfully ousted him from power. Last month, Ecuador’s indigenous communities revolted against Ecuadorian President Moreno’s decision to end fuel subsidies, among other austerity measures, and won. A month ago, indigenous President Evo Morales of Bolivia won the democratic vote only to be victimized by his own military in a coup that landed a white conservative Christian Senator to replace President Morales, now living in asylum in Mexico City. Colombia’s conservative President is a year into his term and is tear-gassing revolters throughout the country, closing the national border and implementing curfews.

Now, the people of Chile are joining the Latin American revolution to end increasing income-inequality.

What seemed like a small 30 peso increase in public transit fares has led to thousands taking to the streets to chant “It’s not 30 pesos, it’s 30 years.”

CREDIT: @ELYGLEZM / TWITTER

Why? Because, like every moment you’ve ever lost your mierda on someone for a microaggression, there is history here, and the United States is more responsible than many might think. Before dictatorship swept the nation, Chile was had democratically elected its first socialist president Salvador Allende in 1973. Allende delivered on his platform to raise the minimum wage, create universal healthcare, free school lunch, and advocated for the indigenous Mapuche children to be integrated into the public school system. Meanwhile, the United States’ CIA has funneled $3 million to finance anti-Allende campaigns and another $2.6 million to finance Eduardo Frei’s campaign — Allende’s rival. When the people continued to elect Allende, the CIA backed the Chilean military to stage a coup. The very last thing Allende told the Chilean people was his vow that he would never resign. The following morning, the military told Chile that Allende killed himself with a gift from Fidel Castro — an AK-47 rifle. Augusto Pinochet appointed himself Chile’s “Supreme Chief of the Nation,” and a dictatorship was born.

Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet may have been ousted 30 years ago, but Chileans feel like its economic progress has been to benefit the ultra-rich and only served to widen the wealth gaps. After the “Chicago Boys” (a group of economists from the University of Chicago) paternalized Pinochet into privatizing nearly everything and creating a free-market designed to benefit the US, the results have left Chile without a middle class. Many of Pinochet’s policies are still in play, and Chileans can feel it.

President Miguel Juan Sebastian Piñera was elected based on a centrist campaign. Now, he’s become another far-right leader in Latin America.

CREDIT: sebastianpinerae / Instagram

The “Chicago Boys” would become government officials in Pinochet’s dictatorship, and many of their contemporaries remain officials under Piñera’s administration. Everything is privatized, including water and social security, and it has become increasingly expensive for Chileans to simply buy their medications, pay their rising bills and live their life. Many of us can relate to rising living costs without any increase in wages or salaries. Chile is rising up.

While American media might be highlighting “violent protests” in Chile, the bulk of the violence is directed at the people from Chile’s government.

CREDIT: @JOVINOMAS / TWITTER

Last week, The New York Times reported on how an eye patch has exemplified the rising police brutality on Chileans. It’s become a symbol of protest. According to The New York Times, more than 285 Chileans have suffered severe eye trauma at the hands of Chilean law enforcement during protesters this month. “I felt an impact in my eye, and it all went black. I held up my hands so they would stop shooting and then laid on the ground, and they shot me three more times,” Brandon González, 19, who works as a hospital assistant told The New York Times. “I thought, they are going to kill me.” Even though Chileans know that their health is on the line, they’re still hitting the streets. 

Finally, President Piñera, who has a historic low 12 percent approval rating, admitted that the police were abusing citizens. “There was excessive use of force. Abuses and crimes were committed, and the rights of all were not respected,” the president said in a speech to the nation after reports of 22 deaths and more than 2,000 injuries.

Chile wants a new constitution, written by the people, instead of Pinochet.

CREDIT: @ALICHEAIB_ / TWITTER

While Piñera has announced that Chile would rewrite its Constitution, it feels like too little too late for many Chileans. They don’t trust government officials to represent the needs of the people, for fear the ultra-rich will influence the foundation of an entirely new government. “If the people want it, we will move toward a new constitution, the first under democracy,” Piñera said. We’ll see.

READ: Mon Laferte Goes Topless At 2019 Latin Grammys To Protest Violence In Chile