Stories from Quick Reads and Women & Gender
Residents of the city of Medellín, Colombia, are asking themselves if the metro is the place to talk about abortion, stemming from an ad by the #ladecisiónestuya (the decision is yours) campaign that's running in the public transit system's cars, as shared by user Jaime Andrés (@JAIM3_ANDR3S):
— Jaime Andrés (@JAIM3_ANDR3S) May 26, 2015
The Decision Is Yours pic.twitter.com/Nbaq2zJHXn
— Jaime Andrés (@JAIM3_ANDR3S) May 26, 2015
The campaign is being spearheaded by a non-profit organization offering sexual and reproductive healthcare services, carrying the message: “398,000 abortions should not be illegal.”
Under the hashtag #Abortonoesculturametro (Abortion Is Not Metro Culture) referring to the set of rules governing Medellín's Metro called “Cultura Metro” (Metro Culture), people have been sharing their opinions for and against abortion, in the same way that the mass transit system installations’ cars are used on a daily basis to post messages using other graphic material.
Under the hashtag #NiUnaMenos (Not One Less), Argentina is mounting a campaign against the alarming increase in the number of femicides, which shows no signs of going down. Many of the country's public personalities have joined the campaign, like cartoonist Liniers, who used one of his best known characters to participate in the movement.
— Liniers (@porliniers) May 12, 2015
3 June. Plaza Congreso. No more femicides.
Femicide, understood as a hate crime against women, poses a serious problem in Argentina. Despite the passage of laws that deal with and criminalize violence against women, these crimes continue to be numerous. The protest will take place on 3 June in the Plaza del Congreso.
The movement gained momentum following the murder of 14-year-old Chiara Paéz. She was allegedly killed at the hands of her boyfriend and had been expecting a child at the time of her death.
The NGO La Casa Del Encuentro, which runs support groups for victims of domestic violence, reported that since 2008 in Argentina 1,808 women were killed by domestic violence, 261 of these girls between 13 and 21 years old. Last year alone, 277 femicides were documented in Argentina, according to Buenos Aires Herald.
Junio del 75 en México no te asombres
Se juntaron mil señoras para hablar mal de los hombres […]
Liberación absoluta es meta de la mujer
Pero aquello de que hablamos
Que no lo dejen de hacer aunque sea por favor
In June of '75 in Mexico don’t be surprised
Thousand of women came together to criticize men […]
Absolute liberation is women's goal
But that thing we talked about
Please don’t stop doing it even if it’s as a favor
The popular Mexican corridos usually refer to women as wives, girlfriends or lovers, but there was a time in history when feminist liberation was reflected in their lyrics. Angie Contreras, blogging for Mujeres Construyendo (Women Building), explains the double interpretation of feminism in that age which still continues today:
El corrido puede tener un sinfín de lecturas, […] explicare dos:
La primera de ellas, una cultura machista muy arraigada en el mexicano, donde la mujer debe asumirse en un rol de casa, educadora y sobretodo de cuidado, es donde recae la frase “que no lo dejen de hacer”, se nos da la libertad pero deben de seguir haciendo lo que ya sabemos hacer […]
Y una segunda está idea que el feminismo es sinónimo de odio a los hombres “para hablar mal de los hombres”, y esto es una malinterpretación del concepto […] la búsqueda del feminismo es una “liberación absoluta”, cuando se buscaban cosas concretas como el acceso a la educación, el derecho a votar y ser votada, la igualdad de salarios.
The corrido has unlimited interpretations, […] I'll explain two of them:
The first one, a sexist culture deeply rooted in Mexicans, in which woman should assume the role of a housewife, a teacher and caregiver, that is what the phrase “let's hope they don't stop doing it” refers to, that liberty is given to us but they must continue doing what we already know how to do.
And a second one is the idea that feminism is synonymous with hating men “to criticize men,” and this is a misunderstanding of the concept […] the search for feminism is an “absolute liberation”, when concrete things were requested such as access to education, the right to vote and be voted, equal wages.
Former French Defense Minister Finds Excuses for the Alleged Rape of Central African Children by French Soldiers
Afrique Info reports that JP Chevènement, a former defense minister of France, stated on public radio Europe 1 on May 3 that the challenging conditions that French soldiers face in the Central African Republic could explain “behavior of that kind” (see video above). Chevènement was referring to the allegation of child sexual abuse by French troops posted in the Central African Republic. The allegations surfaced after disciplinary proceedings were taken against a United Nations employee accused of leaking the allegations to the French authorities.
This text is part of the 49th edition of #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on April 13, 2015.
Underage pregnancy has been rising in Ecuador for the past several years, while abortion even in cases of rape or incest remains criminalized. According to the State Prosecutor, 98 percent of rapes in Ecuador last year occurred within family circles, and 271 took place on the campuses of schools and colleges.
Writing on the blog Plató Mundo, Valeria Coronel and Antonio Jurado took a look at a recent controversial statement by a government official:
El comentario realizado por Alexis Mera (Asesor Jurídico del Estado), en diario El Comercio: “El Estado debe enseñar a las mujeres que es preferible que retrasen su vida sexual y retrasen la concepción para que puedan terminar una carrera” […] denota una falta de conocimiento ante las estadísticas reales de esta problemática y sus causas. Su opinión es grave y alarmante porque solo se refiere a la mujer, […] esto es un reflejo claro de la sociedad machista en la que vivimos.
Nuestra cultura simboliza una falta de educación grave, que sigue atentando directamente a la imagen de la mujer dentro de la sociedad. Éste es el verdadero problema que se debería combatir.
The remark made by Alexis Mera (Legal Counsel for the State), in the newspaper El Comercio: “The state must teach woman that is preferable to delay their sexual life and postpone conception so they can finish their degree” […] denotes a lack of knowledge about the real statistics of the problem and its origin. His opinion is serious and alarming because he only refers to the woman, […] this is an obvious reflection of the sexist society in which we live.
Our culture symbolizes the serious lack of education, which continues directly attacking women image in society. This is the real issue that must be confronted.
In March 2015, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) urged Ecuador to decriminalize abortion in cases of rape and incest.
Continue reading this text here.
— Periódico La Tribuna (@PLaTribunaFunza) May 8, 2015
Pregnant 11-year-old who refused to abort creates controversy.
We wrote recently about about a 10-year-old pregnant girl from Paraguay who was allegedly raped by her stepfather and who was unable to have an abortion because of legal limitations in the country. Now, in Uruguay, where abortion is legal in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, the case of a pregnant 11-year-old who refused to have one has shocked the country.
This girl, who has been said to have an intellectual disability, was raped by the 41-year-old grandfather of her half-sister. This man is now in custody and will be prosecuted for rape, Uruguayan officials told Agence France-Presse.
Family members, doctors, social organizations, and the media have encouraged the girl to terminate the pregnancy. They have even pressured the government to try and force her to go through with it, according to Pangea Today. The response was, however, not favorable to them:
“There is no risk for the life of the child or baby, so we cannot force her to have an abortion,” the director of INAU, Monica Silva, said.
Zachary Rosen interviews photographer/poet Amaal Said. Amaal was born in Denmark to Somali parents and is currently based in London:
AIAC: Your photographs are remarkable in how they challenge and evolve notions of beauty in mainstream Western media by featuring intimate portraits of melanin-rich young people – with piercings, in headscarves and with natural hair. What experiences inform and shape the content of your photographs?
Amaal Said: I try my hardest to keep close to beauty. I grew up in a neighbourhood referred to as a ghetto in Odense, Denmark. I went back two years ago and all I can remember is how many shades of green I saw. I wish I had captured more of it. My own memories of Odense are at odds with what I read about it and hear from family. It’s always been a beautiful place to me, which doesn’t mean that a lot of sadness and tragedy didn’t happen there, it just means that both elements can exist at the same time.
I’ve spent most of my life in London and I’ve had the pleasure of being in communities with other artists who are doing really important work in the world. I never felt alone in that case. Negative opinions of the countries we came from and the communities we lived in existed. I was in classrooms with other children who claimed that people that looked like me were dirty immigrants who stole jobs and cheated the system. I feel like I spent a lot of time at secondary school fighting people’s opinions. And I’m not in those particular classrooms anymore, but I’m still trying to combat those negative portrayals.
I never saw the documenting I did as particularly hard work. I asked to take people’s pictures because I found them beautiful, because I recognised myself in them. I realise now how important the work is and how necessary it is to push against the images that do not represent us in our best light.
The battle of a French mother to recover her son held in Ecuador by his Ecuadorian father, a case characterized by sexism and misogyny, had been followed closely on Ecuadorian social networks. Valeria Coronel and Antonio Jurado relate for the blog Plató Mundo:
Arianais Alezra, la madre de Gaspard Bruzzone, denunció hace unas semanas el secuestro de su hijo. Ella notificó que el niño se encontraba retenido por el padre […]
En una página web llamada: SalvemosaGaspard.com El padre redactó una carta diciendo que el secuestro es justificado, ya que estaba salvando a su hijo de una sociedad pecaminosa y liberal como Francia […] “las pruebas” de por qué Alezra no estaba capacitada para ser madre […] unas fotografías donde vemos a la madre posando desnuda, bajo intenciones artísticas. […] Aclarar que si las intenciones de posar desnuda fueran o no artísticas, no imposibilitan a una mujer de ser madre.
Arianais Alerza, Gaspar Bruzzone's mother, a few weeks ago denounced her son's kidnapping. She announced that the child was held by his father […].
On a web page named: SalvemosaGaspard.com (Save Gaspard) the father wrote a letter saying that the kidnapping was justified, because he was saving his son from a blasphemous and libertarian society as France […] “the proof” of why Alezra was unqualified to be mother […] some photos of her posing nude, with artistic purpose. […] To clarify that whether or not her motives for posing nude were artistic, this does not preclude a woman of being a mother.
José María León reports on GKillCity how the pressure on social networks (“#FindGaspard was used on about 6,000 tweets in a week and the child's name nearing 10,000 more”) forced the court to return Gaspard to the custody of his mother and allow him to join her on April 8 so they could return to their house in Paris.
— GkillCity.com (@GkillCitycom) April 14, 2015
Gaspard demonstrated that social media does much more than discharging the bile excess.
The NGO Miles (Thousands) and the advertising agency Grey Chile are taking a provocative approach to showing the problem that thousands of women face in Chile with respect to abortion, using three fictitious tutorial videos that show the only legal way to have an abortion in the country.
The “advice” ranges from throwing yourself down the stairs to getting run over by a car.
Abortion is prohibited in Chile, which means that thousands of women have to resort to illegal means in order to abort. It is estimated that there are around 150,000 cases each year, some of which result in the death of the patient.
This campaign seeks to draw attention to this fact and persuade the Chilean government to approve the therapeutic abortion law that was rejected last February.
Warning before you click play: these videos contain graphic images.
Desireé Lozano, blogging for Voces Visibles, urges attention be paid to the extremely high rate of teenage pregnancies in Venezuela, where 25% of the pregnancies are among young people, and the lack of an appropriate public policy to counter this phenomenon and its repercussions. Venezuelan statistics are the highest in South America and remains in first place from two years ago.
Maternal mortality is an issue directly related to teen pregnancy. Desiree cited Venezuelan deputy Dinorah Figuera, president of the Family Committee of the Venezuelan National Assembly, who said the state's responsibility is to provide prevention:
“Una de esas consecuencias es que las madres adolescentes son mujeres que pierden oportunidades para desarrollarse desde el punto de vista profesional y aceptan cualquier tipo de trabajo para tener algún tipo de ingresos. Por esta razón el Estado debe aplicar una gigantesca campaña de concientización para la prevención del embarazo adolescente”, señala la diputada venezolana
“One consequence of teen mothers is woman lose development opportunities from a professional viewpoint, take any job in order to make some income. For this reason, the state should mount a massive campaign to prevent teenage pregnancy,” the Venezuelan deputy says.
Additionally, teenage pregnancy contributes to an already established trend, the feminization of poverty. Furthermore, the phenomenon embodies a risk for the mother’s health, running a greater danger than the average. In her article, the writer collects interesting expert statements on the subject providing an overview of the problem.