GUATEMALA CITY – A group of Guatemalan women on Wednesday joined a global initiative against gender-based violence, taking part in a sit-in to demand respect for their rights and an end to femicides.
Feminist Silvia Trujillo, who took part with around 30 other women in the brief sit-in at this capital’s Constitution Plaza, outside the National Palace of Culture, told EFE that protests were organized in different Latin American countries to demand that institutions provide protection for women.
Nearly 10,000 women have been murdered in Guatemala since 2000 and 90 percent of those crimes have gone unpunished, she said, citing figures from the non-governmental organization Observatorio del Grupo de Mujeres.
That figure does not include the more than 30,000 domestic violence complaints reported each year, Trujillo said.
“In Guatemala, like in many Latin American countries, being a woman is a risk factor,” she lamented, adding that “defending life is essential for women today.”
The government has the obligation to protect life and strengthen the judiciary so that violent deaths of women do not go unpunished, according to the feminist, who said impunity sends a “bad message to the aggressors.”
Citing statistics from the Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office, she said women were victims of violence in eight of 10 homes in the Central American country.
Trujillo also called on Guatemalan society to denounce murders and aggression against women, saying that “silence is complicity.”
“If we don’t denounce (crimes), we’re part of the criminal structures.”
Artists Sofia Lantan and Mandy Joha also drew attention to the violence with a performance titled “We Want Ourselves Alive” in Guatemala City’s Central Park, where the latter wrapped herself in wire and smeared herself with red paint to simulate blood.