Argentina: Argentine feminism rises up against the gang rape of a woman in a car in broad daylight | International

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Protest against the different types of violence suffered by women on September 30, 2019.Karl Mancini

“We all have a friend who suffered abuse. But no one has an abusive friend. They don't account." This is one of the posters that have gone viral on the Internet as a result of the rape of a 20-year-old woman by six men in one of the most touristic neighborhoods in Buenos Aires. “Many 'could have been my daughter' and none 'could have been my son',” warns another. The aberrant rape, perpetrated in a car in broad daylight, has put under the microscope the impunity that surrounds many sexual abuses in Argentina and the complicit silence that many men still maintain.

“It's your brother, your neighbor, your dad, your son, your friend, your co-worker. It is not a beast, it is not an animal, it is not a herd, nor are his instincts unstoppable. None of the events that horrify us are isolated. Each and every one responds to the same cultural matrix,” the Minister of Women, Gender and Diversity, Elizabeth Gómez Alcorta, tweeted this Wednesday. "We grew up and socialized on the basis of a masculinity that teaches us that men have the right to decide, alone or in a group, about the bodies of women and LGBTI+ as those who own property or something," the minister added. , who asked men to get involved in the fight to achieve an "Argentina free of violence."

The mayor of the city of Buenos Aires, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, called for the condemnation of all acts of violence and pointed out that the six rapists, aged between 20 and 24, "have to bear the full weight of the law" . Argentine legislation contemplates penalties of up to 15 years in prison for this crime, but many do not even go to trial or have acquittals.

Still, more and more women dare to speak out, as the statistics show. The Ministry of Security of the Nation registered 5,703 rape victims in 2020, 159 more than in 2019 and 1,437 more than in 2018. The cases of 2020 rise to 20,900 when it comes to sexual assault.

One of the cases that contributed to the visibility of sexual assaults against women and the obstacles they encounter before justice was the complaint by actress Thelma Fardin, who accused actor Juan Darthés of having raped her when she was a minor during the tour of a youth series in which they participated. The complaint, filed first in Guatemala, later went to Brazil, where the trial began but was suspended before the verdict after the justice of that country considered that it did not have jurisdiction.

Two years ago, another alleged gang rape at a camping site on the Argentine coast also caused a stir, but there was no conviction either. Last September, a popular jury acquitted the three accused of having sexually abused a 14-year-old girl during the New Year's celebrations.

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Police guard the six suspects of a gang rape in Buenos Aires, on March 1, 2022.
Police guard the six suspects of a gang rape in Buenos Aires, on March 1, 2022.RR.SS.

“It is terrible, because many times the victim is not believed. There was a journalist who said yesterday that the girl could have wanted at some point to have sex with one of them. How is it possible? We can no longer talk about gang rape because they are not animals, they are men who think, who plan to rape. In broad daylight, with impunity, with such cruelty, they raped her while there were two outside the car playing the guitar to hide it,” says Ada Rico, director of the NGO La Casa del Encuentro. “It is naturalized that the bodies of women and girls are for the consumption of men. We need it to change and for that Comprehensive Sex Education has to be taught in schools. It has been mandatory by law since 2006, but that law is not applied,” Rico denounces.

The rape of last Monday, which occurred a week after International Women's Day, will mark the mobilizations of 8-M. The Ni Una Menos collective called "to recover the streets" that day and demonstrate "against this violence that takes certain bodies as loot." The call indicates that the response to these crimes should not be "isolated or individual, but in search of collective reparation."

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