Caracas, 26 Nov. AVN - Chanting, “Free at home, free in the street”, “Neither silenced nor silent”, and “Against personal attacks, social defence” members of the Feminist Spider network gathered in front of the Attorney General’s Office, near Carabobo Park, to carry out a series of activities for the International Day against Violence against Women on Monday.
The rally was based on inclusive principals and brought together diverse collectives, such as Divas of Venezuela, FALDAS in Revolution, the Revolutionary Diverse Sexuality Alliance, Contra Natura, and Autana Tepui.
Greater inclusion for the transsexual community
Rummie Quintero, the president of the collective Divas of Venezuela, an organisation which defends the human rights of transgendered and transsexual people, said that with slow but firm steps the LGBTI community has won greater visibility and respect as well as the recovering of public spaces and an increase in political impact. Though she highlighted such advances, she also talked about other issues which needed special attention.
“We should continue investigating what is happening on Avenue Libertador, where they kill our (trans) comrades and their fundamental rights aren’t respected. The Attorney General’s Office, since 2001, took on the issue of the killing of trans people because we organised protests and some people who had killed transsexuals were arrested, but we shouldn’t wait until they are killed before taking on the situation,” Quintero said.
She demanded that the National Bolivarian Police (PNB) increase its patrolling in certain areas such as Avenue Liberatador, where the presence of female transsexuals is more visible.
“The PNB has to be there, giving them security. They are there because there is a social demand for them,” she said, while on a placard nearby one could read, “Trans people are also violated by machismo, District Attorney’s Office, get on it!”
Legalisation of abortion is a pending debt
Representing FALDAS in Revolution (Feminists in Free and Direct Action for Safe Abortion), Tatiana Rojas affirmed that over the last 14 years gender equality has advanced, but it is also important to reinforce certain mechanisms in order to guarantee that equality.
“Many advances have been made under the revolution. We feel that the Organic Law for the Rights of Women to a Life Free of Violence is fantastic, the problem is that there have been many problems in implementing it. The number 0800-MUJER that the women’s ministry creates for denouncements isn’t working correctly. That’s why we want the revolution to be deepened in that regard,” she said.
One historic debt that this collective hopes will be paid is the legalisation of abortion in all its forms, or as it’s also called, the legalisation of the voluntary interruption of pregnancy in all cases. In Venezuela abortion is illegal unless the life or health of the woman is at risk.
“This is a debt that the revolution has with women. We have the example of the Cuban revolution, where one of the first actions they took was to legalise abortion,” she said.
Rojas commented that not regularising abortion in Venezuela could be conceived as a form of violence, and a way of criminalising the practice.
“What that does is marginalise women, into secrecy. It’s a problem of public health, because by not being legal, women end up doing it themselves, often with unsafe methods,” she said.
That’s why the FALDAS in Revolution collective creates the Safe Information Abortion line 0426 1169 496, a public and free service that provides information about voluntarily interrupting a pregnancy.
Against media objectification of women
The objectification of women in the media was also denounced on Monday afternoon by the ecological collective Autana Tepui, which was created at the Bolivarian University of Venezuela (UBV), and is made up of twenty people. Their spokesperson, Yoselin Ariza, held up a placard which read, “Media, we’re sick of your violations”.
“We’re tired of the media of mass manipulation, which day after day shows programs that attack women. We call on the National Telecommunications Commission (Conatel) to watch the programming of this media, as women are used as objects, like a product, on a daily basis. They sell women that are made of plastic, that have been operated on. We’re sick of this,” she said.
The International Day against Violence against Women was declared in the I Feminist Meeting in Latin American and the Caribbean, held in Bogota Colombia in July 1981. At the event, women denounced domestic based gender violence, rape, and sexual assault, as well as torture, and abuse suffered by political prisoners.
Translated by Tamara Pearson for Venezuelanalysis.com. This article has been slightly abridged.