On 25 November, the International Day of Nonviolence against Women was commemorated. Progress has been made in making visible femicides and those aggressions of high social connotation, but the violence that women in Chile experience on a daily basis is still absolutely invisible and the instances of support and change are still scarce.
Women’s organisations have carried out monumental work carrying out studies, compiling statistics and denouncing different types of violence with the aim of putting an end to this social evil, but the figures do not seem to change much and behaviours continue to be normalised, such as, for example, wage differences, obstetric treatment, low participation in spaces of power, disregard for domestic and care work, harassment and sexual abuse.
Continuing to do more of the same will continue to produce the same results. One certain solution, which emerges from the field in which Fundación Semilla works, is to intervene in education with more will, through cross-cutting programmes on gender equality, valuing diversity, sexuality, coexistence and citizenship aimed at students, but also, and more importantly, at teachers and other education professionals.
The other path, which does not exclude the previous one, is to understand and accept that the cause of non-violence against women must cease to be a cause whose flags are raised only by women. It is essential to bring together a critical mass of men to raise their voices and call on their fellow men to embrace this cause.
I remember that in 2007 – when we used to display a sign in Plaza Baquedano or Dignidad or in the Plaza de Armas of a regional capital, every time a femicide occurred, saying “End the indifference, there have been xx femicides this year” – it was extraordinarily difficult to get men to hold up the banner to be photographed by the scarce press that responded to our call at the time.
Following the same logic, on 25 November I posted on my Instagram and Facebook profiles a call from Fundación Semilla on the International Day of Non-Violence against Women and wrote: “I condemn and invite everyone to join me in condemning the violence against women: I condemn and invite all men to unambiguously condemn all violence against women. If you don’t want to write it, put a Like or a heart”. Not surprisingly, only a third (33%) of the likes were men.
The recent election results, analysts say, are due to the fact that Chilean society does not want violence. But when the different types of violence are listed: criminal, political, drug, street or terrorist violence, violence against women is never included. Once again, we are faced with the hypocrisy of Chilean society in which men do not hesitate to condemn the violence listed above, but do not commit themselves to non-violence against women.
Behind violence against women, there is the same matrix of domination that operates in violence against trans people, against sexual diversity, against immigrants, and against indigenous peoples, it is the persistence of a human hierarchy, and the social, political and economic elements that support this view, and until there is a critical mass of women and men fighting for change and men openly condemning violence against women, the situation will not change much.