SANTIAGO – Hundreds of women have taken to the streets in countries such as Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Mexico, United States, Germany, United Kingdom, France and Spain to perform a choreographed dance “A Rapist in Your Path” against violence by men against women.
The choreography went viral this week after a group of women with black blindfolds over their eyes performed the dance in front of the Chilean capital’s Palacio de La Moneda, the seat of the country’s president, on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which is commemorated every year on Nov. 25.
“Patriarchy is a judge that judges us for being born and our punishment is the violence that you don’t see,” says the first verse of the hard-hitting performance composed by the inter-disciplinary women’s group, Las Tesis, originally from the coastal city of Valparaiso, 120 kilometers (75 miles) west of the capital.
After the video went viral, the group convened women from all over the world to replicate the performance on Friday in their respective cities, and social media was filled with videos of performances in London, Berlin, Paris, Barcelona, Santo Domingo, Mexico City, Bogota and New York.
The choreographed dance was performed in several parts of the Chilean capital such as the Gabriela Mistral cultural center and the Parque Arauco mall, but the largest performance took place in the evening at the iconic Plaza Italia, which has become the epicenter of the social unrest that has gripped the country for six weeks and the most serious since the return of democracy in 1990.
“And it was not my fault, nor where I was nor how I was dressed,” continue the lyrics of the song, which describes the “oppressive State” as a “male rapist” and says “the rapist is you, they are the police officials, the judges, the State, the president.”
At least 3,529 women were killed in 2018 alone in gender-based violence in 25 Latin American and Caribbean countries, according to the Gender Equality Observatory for Latin America and the Caribbean of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.
There have also been reports of sexual violence in the protests that have rocked Chile since Oct. 18, which began in response to a metro fare hike and later transformed into a protest against the government and the country’s unequal economic model.
The crisis has already left at least 23 people dead and thousands injured, in addition to serious accusations against the army and the carabineros (the Chilean national police force) of human rights violations, many of them related to sexual offenses.
The country’s National Human Rights Institute, an independent, public body, has filed four complaints of rape against security forces and 75 complaints for orders to undress, threats and inappropriate touching.