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.

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An ICE Nurse Says That Migrant Women Are Having Hysterectomies Performed Without Their Consent While In Detention Centers

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An ICE Nurse Says That Migrant Women Are Having Hysterectomies Performed Without Their Consent While In Detention Centers

Janis Christie / Getty Images

On Monday, news broke that an ICE detention center in Georgia was performing mass hysterectomies on migrants without their consent. The allegations came from a nurse at the facility along with numerous detained migrants and left many people shocked.

However, the U.S. has a long history of forcing people – especially people of color – into unwanted sterilization, which is a human rights violation and a form of eugenics.

Of course, when it comes to undocumented immigrants, who are regularly referred to as “unwanted” “aliens” by the current president, it’s not so surprising that these practices went unreported for so long. One immigrant in the complaint put it best: “This place is not equipped for humans.”

An ICE nurse and several migrant women allege that a doctor is removing women’s reproductive systems without their consent.

According to the complaint filed Monday by Project South, an Atlanta-based non-profit, a high number of detained immigrant women held at the Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC) in Ocilla, Ga., are receiving hysterectomies, as well as other “dangerously unhealthy practices” at the prison amid the Coronavirus pandemic.

Dawn Wooten, who worked full-time at the detention center until July, when she was demoted to work as needed, said she and other nurses questioned among themselves why one unnamed gynecologist outside the facility was performing so many hysterectomies on detainees referred to him for additional medical treatment. She alleged about one doctor that “everybody he sees has a hysterectomy,” and that he removed the wrong ovary from one young detainee.

“We’ve questioned among ourselves like, goodness he’s taking everybody’s stuff out…That’s his speciality, he’s the uterus collector,” Ms. Wooten said in the complaint.

One detainee, interviewed by Project South, likened the center to “an experimental concentration camp,” adding: “It was like they’re experimenting with our bodies.”

“If it wasn’t for my faith in God, I think I would have gone insane and just break down and probably gone as far as hurting myself,” the woman said. “There are a lot of people here who end up in medical trying to kill themselves because of how crazy it is.”

The same prison has also come under fire for its medical practices amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Credit: Samuel Corum / Getty Images

Project South said the complaint alleges “jarring accounts from detained immigrants and Wooten regarding the deliberate lack of medical care, unsafe work practices, and absence of adequate protection against Covid-19.”

It summarizes the disclosures Dawn Wooten made to the DHS’s watchdog, and quotes unidentified detainees extensively. Covid-19 complaints included staff refusing to test symptomatic detainees, failing to isolate suspected cases, and not encouraging social-distancing practices.

For their part, ICE says to take the reports with skepticism.

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement representative released this statement to Law & Crime News in response to the complaint: “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) does not comment on matters presented to the Office of the Inspector General, which provides independent oversight and accountability within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. ICE takes all allegations seriously and defers to the OIG regarding any potential investigation and/or results. That said, in general, anonymous, unproven allegations, made without any fact-checkable specifics, should be treated with the appropriate skepticism they deserve.”

Women in ICE custody have long been subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment.

Credit: Getty Stock

Immigrant detention centers have long been accused of subpar medical care. However, the issue has become even worse amid the pandemic. The report filed by Project South describes how migrants are forced to live in unsanitary and unsafe conditions and even thrown into solitary if they advocate for basic human rights. But even before the outbreak, immigrant women’s bodies have always been the target of medical malpractice and cruelty.

ICE has allegedly denied treatment to detained women with cancer, brain tumors, and breast cysts, and it has a history of policing their bodies. The Trump administration has been accused of tracking migrant girls’ periods to prevent them from getting abortions, introduced a policy to deny pregnant women visitor visas, and literally ripped mothers apart from their babies during family separation. Azadeh Shahshahani, the legal and advocacy director for Project South, said women held at ICDC have said they are not given clean underwear which leads to infections and rashes.

She said detained women, who are mostly Black and brown, are in extremely vulnerable situations in which “they have no control over their bodies.” “It’s a very exploitative situation,” Shahshahani said of the hysterectomies. “There does not seem to be informed consent … they had pretty much no say in what exactly took place.”

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Peeing On Escalators: The Curiously Gross Case Of Mexico City’s Subway System

Culture

Peeing On Escalators: The Curiously Gross Case Of Mexico City’s Subway System

ThatGayGringo / Instagram

Mexico City subway users often complain about malfunctioning escalators that keep breaking down continually. In any given CDMX metro station, you’ll find that escalators are out of order more often than they are functioning. And city officials have offered an explanation that shocked no one—people are peeing on them so much that escalators are corroding. Yup, you read that right.

Of the system’s 467 escalators, 22 are out of service on any given day.

Travelers on the Mexico City subway system often blame authorities for broken-down escalators at subway stops, but Metro officials have another explanation. Somehow, urine is penetrating and corroding the drive wheels and mechanisms of the escalators that carry riders up from underground stations.

One-quarter of escalator breakdowns on the Mexico City Metro are caused by people urinating on them, according to authorities.

The deputy manager of mechanical installations, Fermín Rafael Ramírez Alonso, said that Tacubaya and Chabacano are among the most affected stations.

Maybe—just maybe— stop peeing on escalators?

Ramírez urged users not to urinate on escalators or other Metro installations, because of the damage it causes. “When we open up escalators for maintenance, there is always urine,” Ramírez said.

But another issue is that there are no public bathroom facilities available.

Most stations have no public bathroom facilities, a fact Twitter users were quick to point out, noting there are not even any pay toilets. “More than this being an issue about ethics or manners, I think that this is happening because of a lack of free and accesible bathrooms in the city,” tweeted one user.

Ramirez also said that other causes for breakdowns include excessively heavy loads, running on the stairs, imbalance on the stairs and objects falling between them.

“There are even users who cut the stairs with knives or other sharp objects, of which we have examples in Tacubaya,” he said, surprising absolutely not one of Mexico City’s users. Many metro users know that vendors even sell knives on subway carriages, as was noted by this tweet.

The biggest problem, subway authorities admit, is that many escalators are old, or have been damaged by rough use.

The city plans to replace about 55 escalators over the next two years. With over 1.6bn rides per year, the Mexico City subway is considered the eighth largest in the world by some measures, and one of the cheapest: a 25¢ ticket will get you a single ride to any destination on the 140-mile (226km) system. Just remember to use the bathroom before setting out.

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