Women grassroots leaders and peace activists from across the Americas met in Antigua, Guatemala in early November to discuss the root causes of the violence they experience, major challenges to peace in the region, and what feminist grassroots leaders are doing about it.
Violence against women is on the rise in our region, measured by the killing of women, attacks on female defenders, reports of domestic violence, and almost any other index. It is concentrated on—but not limited to—sectors of the most vulnerable women, among them the migrants.
The recent scandals regarding first, Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein and then Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore have broken the usual impunity surrounding men’s sexual assault on women by bringing it into the public sphere. That’s a good thing. But the scandals also reveal what women have always known–the pervasiveness of sexual assault in our daily lives.
The truth that’s known and accepted, as Humpty Dumpty would say, will always be power’s truth, and we will always be like Alice asking questions, breaking the molds, ignoring the admonitions to remain quiet or to be silent, disobedient, even of ourselves, using the word and our bodies to move forward.
We refuse to rebuild the weak and unjust structures we had before, and instead commit ourselves to rebuilding a more just and equal society, with real protections against the acts of violence and the violence of poverty that so many Puerto Rican women suffered. We call on women around the world to support us in this historic endeavor.
The statement highlights the participation of ethnically diverse women in peace negotiations; ensuring the security of human rights defenders, civil society activists and Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities; and inclusive monitoring and implementation of peace processes.