SANTIAGO – Hundreds of women students gathered on Friday at Central Hall of the Catholic University to kick off the first feminist occupation in the history of the institution, as a way to complain about the lack of measures to prevent and punish sexual violence there.
“The university keeps ignoring women. We ask for improvement in the rules against abuse, because they could hardly be more deficient. Female officials, workers and students are simply not respected,” Barbara Perez, a Communications student who took part in the demonstration, told EFE.
The young women radicalized their protest first thing this morning, which has now paralyzed the classes at that university located on Alameda Bernardo O’Higgins, one of the main thoroughfares of Santiago.
They said that so far this year they have received 40 complaints about harassment, abuse and/or sexual violence, more than in all 2017.
They also said the rector, Ignacio Sanchez, has refused to receive the demands that the university’s feminist movement presented, and which sees the occupation of the building “as the only way to make them listen to us,” Perez said.
Around 300 women were rejecting “macho behavior and violence as structural elements of society,” and were seeking “to end the systematic abuse of power, gender violence and keeping quiet about all of that.”
“The Catholic University carries out a systematic abuse of its macho power...perpetuating a model of patriarchal society,” the Autonomous Intersectional Feminist Movement said this Friday in a statement.
The women students said they were open to talks with the university, but only if they aren’t the ones charged with wrongdoing because of the occupation.