By Meztli Yoalli Rodríguez
April 24, 2016 marked a historic date in Mexico. More than 40 cities in the country, including Ciudad Juárez, Puebla, Guadalajara, Oaxaca and Mexico City (among others) were the sites of organized protests marches against machista-patriarchal violence. In Mexico, every day 7 women are murdered. Every day you hear or read in the news about disappeared, murdered, kidnapped, beaten, harassed, and raped women. This sexist (patriarchal) violence is lived through the everyday lives of women.
On this April Sunday, thousands of women across the country, of all ages —children, young women, adults and older women— marched against the simultaneous forms of violence they face in their homes, in the streets, in their jobs, in their schools, in their intimate relationships and in militant-leftist organizations. Women flooded the streets to speak out for the silenced and ignored voices. Women went out to denounce the naturalized violence.
On the Internet, with the hashtags #24A, #VivasNosQueremos (WeWantOurselvesAlive), #PrimaveraVioleta (PurpleSpring), and #MiPrimerAcoso, (MyFirstHarassment), women flooded the cyber-world with their testimonies of the first encounter with sexist violence.
We read on Twitter and on Facebook testimonies of the first time that women, as kids, were non-consensually touched, harassed and, in some cases, raped. For many women, it was the first time they publicly talked about these deep wounds. Many of them, including myself, found courage to make their testimonies public as we read other women’s post on social media. All of the stories had so much in common: physical-emotional violence exerted by close people, and sexual violence by friends, professors, boyfriends and family members; other harassment and violence cases were perpetrated by unknown men in public spaces. These voices and stories gave a face, a personal voice, to a structural, continuous violence that we women, as a collectivity, have lived in the quotidian with the hyper-sexualization of our bodies in private and public spaces. These stories made #VivasNosQueremos a trending topic on Twitter in Mexico on April 24 as thousands of us spoke from our heart and made public what we have been silencing, or what has been ignored and not heard before. It showed a deep collective wound as women in Mexico.