Protests seem to be sweeping the planet, from Hong Kong to Iran to Chile, over issues from democracy to gas prices to social and economic inequality. Recently, amidst other protests, a powerful feminist movement showed up on the streets of Chile to highlight the issue of sexual violence.
Scores of women gathered to rally outside of the Ministry for Women's Rights and Gender Equality to protest police violence that has taken place during the country's ongoing protests of extreme inequality. According to an article from Common Dreams:
"The Chilean Special Forces, National Police and the military have reportedly killed at least 26 people, detained over 15,000, caused thousands of gunshot wounds, and been accused of 1,100 cases of torture and inhuman treatment; they've also been charged with over 70 cases of sexual violence and countless allegations by women of beatings, rape, and threats of rape. A Santiago psychologist reported arrested women have been stripped naked in front of men and touched in the genitals; many were penetrated by a rifle and told "they are going to be raped and then killed."
Hearing such accounts makes the chant sung by the blindfolded women gathered at the rally all the more powerful, as they call out the police and those in power as perpetrators of violence instead of the protectors they are supposed to be.
According to one commenter, the chant is loosely translated as follows:
The patriarchy is a judge
who tries us for being born
and our punishment
is the violence you now see.
It's femicide, impunity for my murderer,
it's disappearance, it's rape.
And it wasn't my fault,
nor where I was,
nor how I was dressed (x4).
You were the rapist, you are the rapist.
It's the police, the judges,
the state, the president.
The oppressive state is a macho rapist (x2).
The rapist was you. The rapist is you.
Sleep calmly, innocent girl,
without worrying about the criminal
because your policeman lover
is watching over your sweet and smiling dreams.
You are the rapist (x4).
RELATED: Australia is banning entry to anyone found guilty of domestic violence anywhere in the world.
According to the World Health Organization, one in three women around the globe will endure physical or sexual violence in her lifetime, with the UN classifying such violence as one of the "most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world today." And it's a near-universal fact that sexual assault victims rarely see justice served, literally adding insult to injury.
Until women feel safe with and protected by those charged with their protection, we will continue to see them uniting in the streets to make their voices heard in beautiful and powerful ways.