IUSY Asia Pacific bares plans for 2019, passes resolutions on democracy and human rights

Asia Pacific member organizations of the International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY) approved their annual activity plan and resolutions on democracy and human rights during their committee meeting in December last year.

IUSY members in the region passed the following resolutions unanimously:

  • A resolution on the minorities, marginalized and displaced peoples in Asia

  • A resolution resolve the Bhutanese refugee situation in Nepal

  • A resolution calling for the liberation of Tibet

  • A resolution supporting people’s call for democratic elections in Thailand

  • A resolution calling for justice for Nirmala Pant, a young woman murdered and raped in Nepal

The member organizations also identified key skills and knowledge for future training designs including management and leadership, public speaking, campaigning, organizing, networking, international law and other topics.

IUSY-APC will also have human rights campaigns with special focus on regional concerns such as climate change, ending gender inequality and violence against women, and curbing corruption.

The plans include expansion of members to youth organizations in SAARC, student groups in the Philippines, political parties in the SEA region, and women’s organizations in Nepal.

Participating organizations include Akbayan Youth in the Philippines, Nepal Students Union and Nepal Tarun Dal, Youth for a New Society in Burma, Young Progressives for Social Democracy in Thailand, Tibetan Youth Congress, Youth Organization of Bhutan, and Pergerakan Indonesia.

IUSY and YES condemns building autocracy in Hungary

Some days ago, the Hungarian Parliament passed two new laws with unacceptable content and on a non-transparent, anti-democratically way, with even not respecting the Standing Orders of the National Assembly.

 

The biggest pro-European opposition party, the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) and the Hungarian opposition was trying to stop the Parliament’s vote on the amendments to the Labour Law at all costs. The first attempt was already made on Monday when opposition MPs handed in almost 3000 draft amendments to the agenda as obstruction, but in the end, the Parliament voted in bulk about the amendments of the opposition. On Wednesday, the opposition MPs lined up at the stairs leading up to the Speaker’s podium in order to block the session from commencing.

 

Despite the fact that no real consultation procedure or parliamentary debate were allowed, the Fidesz-majority of the Parliament adopted amendments to the Labour Law, criticised by trade unions and Hungarian people as a ‘slave law’. The new law will allow employers to ask for up to 400 hours of overtime work per year based on ‘individual agreements’ with employees, which agreements override even the collective agreements made with trade unions. It is also shameful that the new legislation leaves the 48 hours/week work limit unchanged but raises the overtime banking period to 3 years from 1 year. In practice, it will be possible for an employer to pay the employee for overtimes in one sum after 3 years.

 

According to the other law, also passed by the National Assembly on the same day, the Hungarian government will set up new administrative courts overseen by the justice minister which is a clear and not-hided blow to Hungarian judicial independence. The courts will deal with politically sensitive lawsuits about government business that are currently covered in the general legal system. The justice minister will oversee the budgets of the new courts and will have big powers in appointing the judges.

 

We, Young Socialists in Europe and all over the world stand with the Hungarian people, with our Member Organisation Societas and all those fighting the erosion of democracy in their fight against the Hungarian Government which is building a new autocracy in Europe with destroying judicial independence and the rule of law. We believe in fair law-making procedures and in real protection of workers’ rights. We also believe in fair share of workload and we stand strong against the exploitation of workers. Though, we do not believe in ‘voluntary overtime’, where employees are vulnerable to the whims of employers. As socialists, we will always condemn these attacks on workers’ rights by the anti-worker, pro-corporate and anti-rule of law Orban’s government.

 

 

Day 17: Stories of Women*: Women’s Rights Are Still Under Attack – We need to continue to mobilise

This year is the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women has existed for 39 years and been ratified for 37 years. For 70 years human rights have been a protected concept and for 37 years the promotion of gender equality has been a corner stone of international law. Amnesty International labeled 2018 as a year of female resistance, we have seen women* raising their voices and kicking ass. We have seen successes like repeal the 8th, the Ni una Menos campaign in Latin America, the protests of endemic violence in South Africa and India, the brave women* in Saudi Arabia and Iran who has faced imprisonment for protesting the right to drive and the forced wearing of the hijab respectively and the thousands of people across the globe who have continued the #MeToo movement are among the highlights. [1] Although 2018 has been a year full of women*’s rights heroes there has been a reason for it. We continue to see countless violations of human rights and attacks on women* across the globe. Women* remain a marginalised group and continue to suffer discrimination and violations.

During the International Day for Women* Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs), UN experts highlighted that it is becoming increasingly difficult and dangerous for women* human rights defenders to do their job. This because in addition to facing the standard risks, threats and intimidation that somehow comes along with defending our fundamental rights, women* face more multifaceted attacks based purely on their gender. Carrying out the work itself often challenges social constructs of family and gender roles which can cause hostility from the general population and authorities which lead to stigmatisation, ostracism by various groups including community leaders, faith-based groups, families and communities who consider them to be threatening religion, honour or culture through their work. Often the real threat to women* human rights defenders is the work itself, taking steps to advancing women’s rights makes them targets of attacks. Women*’s rights defenders are at a higher risk of “being subjected to different forms of violence, prejudice, exclusion and repudiation than their male counterparts” [2] according to UN experts.We need to continue to demand justice to women*’s rights defenders like Marielle Franco who was murdered for promoting the rights of black women*, LGBTI and young people. We need to continue to speak up for women’ human rights defenders, we need to continue to celebrate their bravery and we need to come together to stop attacks against them.

The wave of nationalism and populism brings with it attacks on women*. Nationalistic and populist regimes will always have negative consequences for women*. We have attacks on women* ranging from wanting to put us back in the kitchen and to birth more babies (despite the fact that our earth is overpopulated) to continued victim blaming. Women* are not and should never be reduced to being incubators without rights of their own. Women* will reproduce when they choose to, but it is not their whole identity or purpose to do so. The attacks on women*’s right to control their own bodies are one of the fundamental reasons why we are not yet equal to men. Until we can control our own bodies both legally and socially we will not be equal to men. For example El Salvadors total ban on abortion can be seen more as a war on women*. The country has yet another poster child for the trauma, abuse and punishment this type of ignorance and violation causes. The recent poster child is a 19-year-old rape victim who gave birth to a stillborn in a latrine who has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for murder. Countless women* have been imprisoned in the country for having miscarriages, as a result of that abortion is banned in all circumstances. The ban punishes mostly poor young women* with obstetric complications. [3] The problem becomes that for women who cannot access safe, legal and free abortions and in the case of women* in El Salvador, once she becomes pregnant, she loses all her rights because the fetus has more rights than she does. We have to continue to demand free, safe and legal abortions for all women*. You do not have to be pro-abortion, but you have to be pro choice. What you cannot do is restrict another woman*’s right to choose; her body, her life, her choice.

2018 is ending and our legal systems are still full of prejudice and victim blaming. Women* are not believed. 2018 has seen countless of rape cases where the rapist has been acquitted and the victim has 1) not been believed 2) blamed for what happened. One of the most famous and outrageous cases was that of the 17 year old girl in Ireland who was raped by a 27 year old man. The 27 year old in this case gets acquitted because the defense lawyer uses the victim’s underwear, a thong with lace, to say that she consented.[4] Never in my life has my underwear said if I wanted to have sex or not. So if she were wearing boy-shorts or “granny” panties her refusal would be different? Victim blaming has to stop. We cannot accept the continuance of this awful patriarchal system to continue. We need to continue to raise our voices and speak out against victim blaming.

NewsMavens (an ace European news outlet solely consisting of female journalists and of women* picking the news) released a report on Obstetric violence, a report revealing the prevalence of gynecologists’ gas lighting women*. What struck me the hardest was not the countless descriptions of harm caused to women (although it did make me want to puke and hit a wall simultaneously) it was this quote: “many gynecological procedures are done without pain relief or the anesthetic is not working properly and women are not believed when they complain. Other times, as in childbirth, pain relief is forced on women. Women’s point of views [are] not taken into account when it comes to their experiences and to the care they need or want in maternity and childbirth. They are infantilized and made to feel inferior, which puts their life and the life of their babies at risk.” [5] Further, it was that we are not discussing our reproductive health and rights, as it is seen as something intimate. But most of all the painful fact is the culture of “this is just how it is done”. Traumatic births, violence from our health care providers and procedures without anesthetics is not something women should have to endure going into 2019. We need to continue to create forums for women’s voices and stories to be heard. We need to create better care policies and continue the fight for women to be believed.

These are just a few examples of how women*’s rights are restricted across the globe and of systemic issues that we need to continue to fight to change. So in 2019, join me and let’s mobilise to defend women*’s rights defenders, strengthen our sexual health and reproductive rights, end victim blaming and strengthen women*’s position in society so that our voices are not only hard but believed. Sign petitions, join movements, speak out in person and online. No one can do everything, but we all can do something.

Amanda Lilliefeldt
IUSY Project Manager, Feminist and Human Rights Activist

[1] https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2018/12/oppressive-sexist-policies-galvanize-bold-fight-for-womens-rights/

[2] https://www.ohchr.org/en/issues/women/wrgs/pages/hrdefenders.aspx

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/jul/06/el-salvador-teen-rape-victim-sentenced-30-years-prison-stillbirth

[4] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/15/world/europe/ireland-underwear-rape-case-protest.html

[5] https://newsmavens.com/special-review/914/when-gynecologists-gaslight-women

Day 16. Stories of Women*: Untitled

Decido contar mi historia, porque abrí los ojos a tiempo… y si no hubiera sido así ni si quiera hoy estaría aquí.  

Todo empezó cuando conocí a un hombre (15 años mayor que yo) en mis pensamientos la idea no es un parámetro. Pero quiero aclararlo igual. Empecé una relación con esa persona que venía de un segundo divorcio y con una hija en camino. Lo acepté con sus cosas y su pasado. Al principio era el más bueno y romántico, todo fue cambiando cuando me pedía que no me pinte los labios como una “ puta” ni use escote ni nada corto abajo de mi cintura… esas veces las deje pasar, después todo fue empeorando cuando me hacía volver temprano del boliche y le preguntaba al remisero de la dirección que me traía ( para verificar si venía o no del boliche) y antes de entrar a su casa me olía el cuerpo y la ropa para ver si tenía perfume de otro hombre… la dejé pasar reiteradas veces. Hasta que ya empezó a romper mi ropa interior cada vez que teníamos un encuentro, solo para que “ no me vaya con otro hombre”…. todos los meses me compraba ropa interior porque él me la rompía. 

Siguieron pasando los meses, y un día descubrí que tenía un flujo oloroso y me picaba en mis zonas. Consulte con la ginecóloga y fue consecuencia de no usar preservativo y de que él me acabara adentro. Si, me obligaba a tener relaciones y me acaba adentro porque quería tener un hijo conmigo a lo cual yo tomaba pastillas anticonceptivas a escondidas porque yo no deseaba ser madre.  

Siguieron pasando los meses hasta que decidí cortar esta relación enfermiza y tóxica. A tal punto que el no pudo aceptar y me seguía y sabía todo de mi, mis horarios, con quien estaba y donde y demás.  

Un 20 de septiembre del 2017 me escribe un msj diciéndome que estaba afuera, yo nunca le había avisado donde estába… no nos hablábamos ya. Salí y él estaba ahí, pensé que sería el último día de mi vida… me sentí en peligro y amenazada por la persona que yo amaba. Salí, nos vimos y me obligó a ir a un motel. Tuvimos relaciones, contra mi voluntad y me resistí tanto que empecé a sangrar por la vagina y él gritaba diciéndome te rompí… sos mía. Mi mujer… y yo lloraba , me quería bañar e irme lejos. Antes de irnos del motel me amenazo de que deje de frecuentar con un chico con el que me estaba conociendo sino él actuaría al respecto. Deje de un lado a esa otra persona e ignoraba a todo hombre que se me acerque. Hasta que un día dije basta, no doy más !!! Mi vida vale, soy una mujer fuerte saldré de esto… lo saque de mi vida y lo amenace con denunciarlo ya que si lo hacía era en vano porque su padre es un funcionario político de una ciudad de mi provincia. Lo bloquie en todas las redes, empecé mi tratamiento psiquiátrico y aquí estoy empoderandome y amándome todos los días y agradeciendo de estar con vida para contarlo. 

Day 15. Stories of Women*: Untitled

Hoy 21 de nov hace exactamente un año y un mes desde ese terrible momento que me tocó vivir, la persona que más quería, una persona intachable y a quien consideraba un segundo padre, si así es, un segundo padre. 21 de octubre día de la madre, toda la familia reunida en mi casa, días previos mi tío materno quedaba a dormir en mi casa, siempre vivió así un tiempo acá, otro en casa de mi abuela y así, es una persona adicta al alcohol, hago esta aclaración que de mucho no vale, supongo.. Esos días lo veía bastante raro más allá de su abstinencia tenía actitudes un tanto raras para conmigo pero no les di bolilla. Terminaba el día de la madre, mis viejos se fueron de casa a dejar a unos familiares en su casa cuando cansada me recuesto en la pieza de mi hermana y mi hermano en la suya. Este tipo (tío) se despierta de su larga siesta cálculo que habrá sido tipo 20hs, se me acerca y se sienta en la punta de la cama a darme charla y me dice je se quedará ahí por que esta aburrido, yo seguía jugando con mi celular hasta que llegó un momento en que empezó a tocarme las piernas y a subir su mano y con esas palabras que jamás voy a olvidar “no le cuentes nada a la mami”. Reacciono de inmediato a gritar a mi hermano a lo que el no me daba bolilla y le grité, me está tocando!!! 

De inmediato viene mi salvador, quién lo corrió y amenazó con llamar a la policía. Obvio, se fue pero negandolo todo. Entre lágrimas yo no podía hacer nada, más que avisar a mi familia creyendo que me creerían, hasta el dia de hoy sigo dudando que me hayan creído. Actuaron de lo más normal, no quisieron que lo haga público para cuidar la salud de mi abuela, ni tampoco hacer la denuncia. Actualmente mi vieja sigue teniendo contacto con este tipo y lo sigue ayudando, también lo hace mi hermana que nada le importó. Pero en este año y un mes, solo vino a molestar en casa una vez, el panico, el llanto fue imparable. Todo este tiempo he tenido pesadillas, muchas veces me despierto con el mismo miedo de volver a encontrarlo y saber que puede hacerme algo, el pánico siempre está.. Recuerdo latente que a los días, mi hermano mayor me dijo “bueno,  mira como te vistes, no esperes tanto respeto” 

Hoy gracias al apoyo de muchxs compañerxs logré empoderarme como mujer y aprender que solo yo soy dueña de mi cuerpo, que los demás deben respetarme.  

 

Day 14. Stories of Women*: A story about abortion from the Faroe Islands 

I still remember the feeling that went through my body, when the pregnancy test turned positive. It was a combination of fright and anxiety, which went through every single bone and limb. 

I was 19, confused and uncertain what my future would bring – and this did not exactly make it easier. I had no job and lived at home with my parents. How could I even raise a child – a real, living, breathing individual – under these circumstances? I was careful when it came to my contraceptives, for exactly this reason so I would not even have to make this decision. 

The personal conditions weren’t ideal either. For years I had been struggling with anxiety, but through the last months I could finally tell myself, and mean it, that I was in a good mental state. I was finally starting to socialise again, exploring my limits and slowly moving towards something, that felt good and free. When I started to think about the situation I was in, I immediately felt that these could not be the right circumstances to welcome a child into this world. 

 I also thought about him. He was such a charming, kind guy, when I first met him – and I fell in love right away. Everything escalated so quickly, and it was almost as if we didn’t notice it. Within a few weeks, we met each others families and our friends became more than familiar to each other. 

Just as everything seemed a bit too good to be true, everything turned around and the tingly feelings of joy soon turned to an overwhelming heartache. After a few months, I found out that he had been cheating on me – with one of my best friends. I could feel how my self-confidence started to fade away. Signs of my anxiety started to show. Everything happened so fast. And now I was sitting here. On the bathroom floor at my parents’ house – with a positive pregnancy test. 

He didn’t handle it well. He told me to convince my doctor I was mentally ill, so I could get an abortion. I have to admit that the idea had occurred to me before and was playing like a loop in my head. Days went by, and I decided to tell my family and closest friends. I remember how they without success tried to comfort me and tell me that everything would be fine. One of my friends asked me to join her on a night out, so I could take my mind off things.  

I honestly thought this was a great idea, but the night ended like a nightmare. I met him. He was drunk and said that he wanted to talk. I hesitated for a minute, but then convinced myself that is was only fair to let him speak his mind. We went to a more private place. He told me how unhappy he was about this unexpected pregnancy. I agreed with a small nod. He was not ready to become a father. I wasn’t ready to become a mother either, I replied. He apologised for his actions – for being so unfair to me. Then he asked me if I would try to get an abortion – and for the first time I was sure what I had to do. ‘Yes’, I replied. My gut was telling me that this was the right decision.  

The story could have ended here, but it didn’t. I want to tell the whole story so hopefully someone – and especially those who hold the power – will finally understand that abortion is never simple, and that there is something terribly wrong in our society’s perception of ‘respect’.  

He started to kiss me. Not a bone in me wanted to kiss him – but he didn’t care. He forced himself upon me. I said no – but once again he didn’t care. I have lost count of how often I’ve blamed myself for being raped that night. I could have screamed. Or I could have bit him. But instead I cried and waited until it was over – till he finished. 

I went to the doctor a few days later. I told her that I was pregnant, but that I wanted this to be over as soon as possible. She supported my decision instantly and sent me to the gynecological department at the hospital. Even though my real reason behind wanting the abortion was simply  not wanting to become a parent. My medical records says it is because I was suffering from serious mental illness and was a danger to myself. It wasn’t true but I went along with it anyway. Those are the conditions you have to accept and if you are desperate enough, you would do anything it takes.  

This was my decision and I had thought this through. I wasn’t ready to become a mother. Where would I live? How would I provide everything that you need when having a child? Now I  was also fully certain, that if I would have a child now, I would have been alone in it, I would have been a  single parent. 

I could never see myself give 100% of me for a child at the time, let alone provide the love and care that a child needs. I also wanted him out of my life. I believe that fathers do have rights to their children, but the thought about him – a rapist – as the father of my child still gives me the creeps. I know I could never accept it. Not for my potential children nor myself. 

In the Faroe Islands abortion is only permitted if: 

  1. The maternal life is endangered 
  2. Severe fetal defects 
  3. Pregnancy is resulted from rape or incest
  4. The woman due to serious physical or mental illness is estimated unsuitable to take care of her child

This story was originally published as a part of a campaign by Social Democratic Youth of the Faroe Islands (Sosialistisk Ung) that sought to achieve free abortion on the Faroe Islands in 2017. The woman in the story wishes to remain anonymous, but Sosialistisk Ung knows her real identity. 

The story has been revised in order to make it understandable in an international context with consent of the woman.  

Day 13. Stories of Women*: Untitled

[ES]
A los 7 años fui violada por un amigo de mi familia, a quien tenía que llamar “tío”, todo paso en una cena donde estábamos todos los familiares reunidos. Siempre me llevaba caramelos y él me sentaba arriba suyo, parecía normal, hasta que esa noche me llevó al galpón que estaba al fondo del patio donde abusó de mí, mis padres me estaban buscando y justo me encontraron en el acto, ensangrentada y llorando. Toda mi familia se enteró esa noche, lo golpearon (mi papa casi lo mata) hasta echarlo. A mi me llevaron a la guardia y por suerte no tenía ninguna herida grave. Él solo una denuncia, yo no era la primera a la cual había violado pero si espero haber sido la última (en la actualidad ya está muerto).  

Después de años de terapia y acompañada de personas que me quieren, lo pude superar.  Es un proceso que lleva años y es muy doloroso, pero es posible superarlo. Quedan muchas secuelas como los ataques de pánico que sigo teniendo, pero sé que es algo del pasado y aún queda mucho. Gracias al feminismo me di cuenta que no estoy sola y que no soy a la única que pasó por esto, por eso sigo y voy a seguir luchando por los derechos de todas las mujeres para que ninguna de nosotras pase por lo mismo.  

 ¡ABAJO EL PATRIARCADO! 

 [EN]
When i was 7 years old I was raped by a family friend, whom I had called “uncle”. It happened on a day when all the relatives had gathered for a dinner. He used to always bring me candy and I would sit on his lap. It all seems so normal and innocent. But that night he took me to a warehouse located in the backyard of the house.  

He abused me. My parents were looking for me and found me while he was still in the middle of the act. I was bleeding and crying. My whole family found out. They beat him up, my dad almost killed him. They kicked him out.  

They took me to the hospital but luckily I did not have any serious injuries. He went through and impeachment after. I was not the first one he raped, but I hope I were the last one. He is not alive anymore.   

It took me years of therapy and being accompanied by people who loved me to overcome what happened.  It is a process that takes years and is very painful. But it is possible to overcome. I still suffer panic attacks.   

Thanks to feminism I realised that I am not alone and that I am not the only one who have gone through this. That is one of the main reasons why I continue and I will continue to fight for the rights of all women so that no one has to go through the same things that I did again.  

    SMASH THE PATRIARCHY! 

   

 

Day 12. Stories of Women*: Biografías politizadas y la porfía del sur feminista 

[ES]

Tengo presente en mi memoria, desde muy pequeña, haber presenciado, pero también vivenciado desigualdades y violencia de género. Fui criada principalmente por mi madre, siempre con el apoyo solidario de otras mujeres, mi abuela materna a quién nombro hasta el día de hoy “mami” y mi madrina, ambas mujeres de la costa centro sur de la región del Biobío, la maravillosa comuna de Tomé.  

La experiencia de la maternidad para ella nunca fue una tarea sencilla, tuvo que migrar desde la región del Biobío a Santiago, para incorporarse a la fuerza laboral y desempeñarse como trabajadora de casa particular puertas adentro, comúnmente conocido en Chile como “nana”. Vivimos procesos de cambios importantes en ese periodo, nuestra genealogía deriva de cirulos de pobreza y limitadas condiciones para culminar la educación formal, a ello sumado la dificultosa posibilidad de ser mujer trabajadora y madre, más aún en pleno proceso de transición democrática de los 90. En ese momento, la única opción que mi madre creyó viable para nuestro “buen vivir” fue matricularme en el internado de la Escuela Nº 328 de niñas y niños, perteneciente al Hogar Español, ubicado en la comuna de Las Condes, muy cercano a su lugar de trabajo.  

Desde los 6 años estuve interna de domingo a viernes, compartía con otras niñas y adolecentes de distintas regiones, comunas de Santiago, inclusive de otros países -recuerdo una amiga del internado que llego de Nicaragua producto de la represión y violencia política de su país- que se encontraban en situaciones similares. Éramos más 100 mujeres con historias entretejidas por la pobreza, la violencia, el no reconocimiento de nuestros padres o la ausencia radical de estos. Si bien yo estaba reconocida por el mío, el ejercicio pasivo de la paternidad y muchas veces su ausencia en mi proceso de desarrollo, no favoreció que esta realidad fuera distinta.  

La experiencia en ese lugar tuvo de dulce y agraz. Lo significativo fue encontrarme con niñas de distintas latitudes y saber que no era la única en la misma situación, además compartir experiencias siempre fue muy enriquecedor. Asimismo, contábamos con las necesidades elementales cubiertas: alimentación, refugio, educación, salud y entretención. No obstante, me llamaba poderosamente la atención la imposición del catolicismo, disponer de una sala de muñecas, con coches, cocinas, enseres del hogar como escobas, platos, carros de supermercado, y otra sala de televisión solo con películas Disney como La Cenicienta, La Bella y La Bestia, La Sirenita, Blancanieves y Los Siete Enanos; todas reproducen un estereotipo de mujer rescatada por un “hombre que resulta ser el amor verdadero y para toda su vida”. En consecuencia, las normas establecidas por nuestras cuidadoras “Madres de los Desamparados y San José de la Montaña”, consistían en negarnos la posibilidad de usar faldas cortas y trepar árboles, usar maquillaje y estaba tajantemente prohibido las relaciones amorosas heterosexuales y mucho más las lésbicas.  

Lo que no supieron y/o quisieron prever en el internado fue nuestras biografías cruzadas por contextos de vulnerabilidad, algunas arrastrábamos dolores profundos, silenciosos y muchas veces traumáticos.  

Mi experiencia da cuenta de una situación de abuso sexual a los 5 años, por un integrante varón de mi familia, que me ocasionó un daño irreparable que nunca pude verbalizar -hasta hace 3 años atrás-. Luego, a los 8 años fui abusada nuevamente, en el espacio que se constituía como mi segundo hogar, el internado. Cuando comencé a crecer y me cambiaron de colegio, emprendí el desarrollo de mi autonomía desplazándome sola por la ciudad, presencié el peligro en ella con el acoso sexual callejero, los agarrones en la vía pública y roces intencionados en la locomoción colectiva, la inseguridad que me provocaba caminar sola por lugares oscuros. Pero también tuve la protección y defensa irrefutable de mi madre cuando estaba presente.  

En definitiva, solo por ser mujer tuve que asumir determinadas conductas, roles y expectativas que el mandato cultural depositaba en mí, pero que también permeaba mis relaciones familiares, de pareja y/o con mis pares. Al ser objeto de la violencia sexual, tempranamente me percaté que las desigualdades culminan en expresiones concreta, que transcienden la experiencia individual y el ámbito privado, y cuando lo devaluado es lo femenino siempre puede seguir afectando a otras. Inclusive cuando colectivizamos ese ejercicio de agudizar la mirada respecto de las opresiones y dominaciones que vivimos, tomar consciencia y compartirlo por medio de la conversación con otras mujeres, puede ser dolorosamente revelador, pero también puede constituirse en nuestra principal arma de lucha, para desnaturalizar que lo común no debía ser las historias de violencia que arrastramos en distintas etapas de nuestras vidas, sino más bien el deseo por derribar el orden que las reproduce.  

Cuando utilizo el habla como herramienta de comprensión del mundo subjetivo con mi madre, tías, amigas, mujeres con las que trabajo, compañeras de militancia feminista y política, aparece alguna expresión de la violencia patriarcal en sus biografías, en el tipo de educación que hemos recibido, en la forma que nos hemos incorporado al mundo del trabajo y la cada vez más precarización del mismo, en la desigualdad salarial, en los accesos a los determinados servicios por pertenecer a un contexto territorial más empobrecido, en el ejercicio muchas veces solitario de la crianza. 

Por eso estoy convencida del valor emancipatorio que representa politizar las biografías, tomar consciencia del potencial transformador del feminismo para las mujeres y las mayorías sociales, así como reconocer el valor de las estrategias plurales que convergen en una lucha común: liberarnos de las opresiones y dominaciones que el capitalismo y el patriarcado refuerzan sistemáticamente en nosotras.  

Las mujeres que vivimos en Chile, como en otros territorios del sur y en el resto del mundo, nos encontramos en un proceso clave de transformación social. El cariz de las demandas que hoy impulsamos en cada territorio deriva de un proceso de acumulación histórica que mujeres y feministas antecedieron, apunta precisamente a evidenciar la crisis del modelo capitalista que está llevando al limite la explotación humana y el planeta que habitamos.  

Lo anterior, producto de la depredación de los recursos naturales por empresas capitalistas transnacionales que despojan del buen vivir a miles de comunidades indígenas y generando zonas de sacrificio, asimismo ocurre con la mercantilización de los derechos sociales, la privatización de la tierra y el agua que culmina anulando el goce de la existencia y precarizando aún más la vida de las personas. Pero también, establece nuevas formas de dominación y exclusión instalando un nuevo germen fascista, la pandemia femicida como expresión radical de la violencia de género y los cada vez más presentes desplazamientos masivos por la legitima búsqueda de nuevos asentamientos. 

Es indiscutible que la articulación e incidencia política del feminismo en Chile busca revolucionar todos espacios, y en lo personal, me ha posibilitado contribuir en la reconstrucción de ese nuevo tejido social que parece cobrar cada vez mayor sentido y fuerza. Los procesos en curso de transformación cultural en las universidades por las denuncias de violencia, acoso y abuso sexual, la lucha por el aborto libre, legal, seguro y gratuito, los preencuentros hacia la Huelga General de Mujeres el 8 de Marzo próximo, la campaña nacional 19 de Diciembre Día Nacional Contra el Femicidio, las luchas antirracistas y contra el extractivismo, las reflexiones políticas y movilizaciones masivas de mujeres y disidencia sexual, como de la clase trabajadora en su conjunto, se desprenden de biografías politizadas que buscan mejorar las condiciones de vida de las mayorías sociales, erradicando la explotación capitalista y patriarcal. Sin permiso y con la porfía característica de los feminismos del sur.  

Cinthya Jara Riquelme, Trabajadora Social Feminista –Juventud Socialista de Chile

[EN] 

Politicised biographies and the obstinacy of the feminists from the south 

 I keep in mind, from a very young age, having witnessed, but also experienced, inequalities and gender violence. I was raised mainly by my mother, always with the support of other women: my maternal grandmother whom I name to this day “mommy” and my godmother, both women of the south-central coast of Biobio region, the wonderful commune of Tomé.

The experience of motherhood for her was never an easy task, she had to migrate from the Biobío region to Santiago, to join the work force and to work as a private home worker, commonly known in Chile as “nana”. We lived through processes of major changes in that period. Our genealogy derives from poverty cycles and limited conditions to complete formal education, coupled with the difficult possibility of being a worker and mother. This was even more apparent in the process of democratic transition of the 90s. At that time, the only option that my mother believed was viable for our “good living” was enrolling me in the boarding school of the School No. 328 of children, belonging to the Hogar Español. It was located in the county of Las Condes, very close to her workplace.

From 6 years old I was at the boarding school from Sunday to Friday. I shared a room with other girls and adolescents from different regions and counties of Santiago, and also from other countries. I remember a friend of the boarding school that came from Nicaragua as a result of the repression and political violence of her country, who were in a similar situation. We were more than 100 women with histories woven together by poverty, violence, the non-recognition of our parents or the radical absence of these. Although I was recognised by mine, the passive exercise of paternity and many times its absence in my development process, did not make my reality different. 

The experience in that place was both sweet and bitter. The significant thing for me was meeting with girls from different places and knowing that I was not the only one in the same situation. The sharing experiences was always very enriching. Likewise, we had basic needs covered: food, shelter, education, health and entertainment. However, the imposition of Catholicism attracted my attention, having a doll room, with cars, kitchens, household items such as brooms, plates, supermarket trolleys, and another TV room with only Disney movies such as Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Snow White and The Seven Dwarves; that all reproduce a stereotype of a woman rescued by a “man who turns out to be true love and for his whole life”. Accordingly, the rules established by our caretakers “Madres de los Desamparados y San José de la Montaña”, consisted in denying us the possibility of wearing short skirts and climbing trees, wearing makeup and we were strictly forbidden in having heterosexual love relationships and even more so lesbian relationships. 

What they did not know and/or wanted to see at the boarding school was our biographies crossed by contexts of vulnerability, some of us kept deep, silent and often traumatic pains. 

My experience includes a situation of sexual abuse at age 5, by a male member of my family, which caused me irreparable damage that I was never able to verbalise until 3 years ago. Then, at age 8 I was abused again, at the place that was considered as my second home, the boarding school. When I began to grow and I changed school, I undertook the development of my autonomy by traveling alone through the city; I witnessed the danger in it with street sexual harassment, the clutches on the street and intentional friction in the collective locomotion, the insecurity that was created when I would walk alone in dark places. But I also had the protection and irrefutable defence of my mother when she was present. 

In short, just because I was a woman, I had to assume certain behaviours, roles and expectations that the cultural mandate ascribed to me, but that also seeped into my family relationships, as a couple and / or with my peers. Being the object of sexual violence, I realised early on that inequalities culminate in concrete expressions that transcend individual experience and the private sphere, and when what is devalued is feminine, it can always continue affecting others. Even when we collectivise this exercise of perfecting the view of the oppressions and dominations that we live through, becoming aware and sharing our experiences through conversation with other women, can be painfully revealing, but it can also become our main weapon of struggle. A commitment to changing that the everyday stories should not be the stories of violence that we have gained in different stages of our lives. We need to be dedicated to the desire to tear down the order and system that reproduces them. 

When I use speech as a tool for understanding the subjective world with my mother, aunts, friends, women I work with, companions of feminist and political militancy, some expression of patriarchal violence appears in their biographies. For example inn the type of education we have received, in the form that we have incorporated into the world of work and the increasingly precariousness of it, in the wage inequality, in the access to certain services for belonging to a more impoverished territorial context, in the often solitary exercise of the upbringing. 

That is why I am convinced of the emancipatory value of politicising biographies, becoming aware of the transforming potential of feminism for women and social majorities. As well as recognising the value of plural strategies that converge in a common struggle: freedom from oppression and domination that capitalism and patriarchy reinforce systematically in us. 

The women who live in Chile, as in other territories of the South and in the rest of the world, are in a key process of social transformation. The expression of the demands that we promote today in each territory derives from a process of historical accumulation that women and feminists preceded. It aims precisely to highlight the crisis of the capitalist model that has taken the human exploitation and the planet that we inhabit to the limit. 

This is the result of the depredation of natural resources by transnational capitalist companies that deprive thousands of indigenous communities of good living.  It creates zones of sacrifice, as well as the commercialisation of social rights, the privatisation of land and water. It culminates in ending the enjoyment of existence and makes the lives of people even more precarious. But it also establishes new forms of domination and exclusion by introducing a new fascist seed, the femicide pandemic as a radical expression of gender violence. It also increases the mass displacements by people going through a legitimate search for new settlements. 

 It is indisputable that the articulation and political influence of feminism in Chile seeks to revolutionise all spaces. For me personally, it has made it possible to contribute to the reconstruction of this new social fabric that seems to take on ever-greater meaning and strength. The on-going processes of cultural transformation in the universities emerge from politicised biographies that seek to improve the conditions of life of the social majorities, eradicating capitalist and patriarchal exploitation. The fights include the denunciation of: violence, harassment and sexual abuse, the fight for legal, safe and free abortion, the pre-encounters towards the General Women’s Strike on March 8, the national campaign on December 19: National Day Against Femicide, anti-racist struggles and against extractivism, political reflections and mass mobilisations of women and sexual dissidence, as well as of the working class as a whole., The defining characteristics of the feminism of the south is not asking for permission and being obstinate. 

Cinthya Jara Riquelme, Feminist Social Worker – Socialist Youth of Chile