Conflicts & War

Chileans take to the streets to march against gender violence

Santiago, Nov 25 (EFE).- Numerous marches and protests were held across Chile on Thursday to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, a phenomenon that affects the Latin American region more than any other.

Demonstrations were called in many places from the north to the south of the country, with thousands of women marching in Santiago, shouting “No es no!” (No means no) through the main artery of the capital, the Alameda.

According to data from the World Health Organization, 11 percent of women over 15 years of age in Latin America have suffered sexual violence, which is twice the world average.

In Chile, 43 femicides were committed in 2020 according to official figures from the National Service for Women and Gender Equity, however, organizations point out that there are more.

The Chilean Network Against Violence Against Women recorded 58 murders, in part because legislation until the beginning of 2020 only considered femicide to constitute murders perpetrated by a formalized couple.

In March of last year, a law was approved to extend the range to informal relationships and strangers with a gender cause.

“We know that in Chile two out of five women have suffered violence at some time in their life. It is absolutely unacceptable and requires the full commitment of the State to fight against it,” said President Sebastián Piñera.

During the day, a group drafting the new constitution announced an initiative that seeks to enshrine “the right to a life free of violence against women” in the new fundamental law.

“With the introduction of this first regulation, we are in charge of a devastating reality experienced by thousands of women in our country. The prevention and reparation of gender violence will no longer be postponed issues,” said lawyer and constituent Bárbara Sepúlveda.

After a wave of massive marches for equality that began in 2019, the country decided with 80 percent support, to leave behind its current charter and entrusted the task of drafting a new constitution to a joint assembly, something unprecedented in the world, chaired by an indigenous woman, the academic Elisa Loncón, and with the presence of more than 50 women.

Another of the hot topics of the day was the rise of the far-right presidential candidate José Antonio Kast, an anti-abortionist who wants to eliminate the Ministry of Women and who will compete in the deciding runoff polls on Dec.19 against the young leftist Gabriel Boric.

“We are in a complex context in which sectors that want to push us backwards are being strengthened, and we have decided to bet on a transformation agenda (…) to put the lives of women and girls at the center,” said the constituent Alondra Cheek. EFE


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