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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