‘A rapist in your way’: Chilean feminist protest comes to Brussels
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    ‘A rapist in your way’: Chilean feminist protest comes to Brussels

    The performative chant describes the police, judges and the state as rapists. Credit: Esther Genicot/Instagram

    About 100 people participated in a feminist protest performance at Mont des Arts on Sunday to protest violence and sexual abuse against women in Chile and the rest of the world.

    The protesters danced and sang a chant describing the police, judges, the president, and the state as rapists. 

     

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    The song, translated from Spanish to French, is an adaptation of the performative piece “un violador en tu camino,” meaning “a rapist in your way.”

    Esther Genicot, one of the organizers for the event, explained that they sang the chant twice, once in Spanish, and a second time in French, to make Chilean women more visible.

    The event was organized in less than 24 hours alongside Sororité sans frontières Belgique, a Chilean feminist group, and Collecti.e.f 8 maars, another feminist group in Belgium.

    The organizers did not know each other beforehand, but they got in touch through a feminist group on Facebook and decided to organize the event to show Belgian solidarity with feminists in Latin America.

    “We really felt an irrepressible need to propose to Brussels women to join forces, so that with a single common voice, we could together be spokespersons for so many other voices, never heard, never listened to, always despised with paternalism, condescension, contempt, casualness,” said Genicot.

    Las Tesis

    Although the chant was originally performed on 20 November on Plaza Aníbal Pinto de Valparaíso in Chile, it was popularized by a viral video of feminists gathered outside of the Ministry for Women’s Rights and Gender Equality in the country’s capital on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

    The performative chant was written by Las Tesis, a feminist collective of four Chilean women, based on the texts of feminist anthropologist Rita Segato. The four women described their collective as having an aim to translate “feminist authors’ theses into a performative format in order to reach multiple formats.”

    The song has been performed by protesters in many cities throughout Chile and the world, including Madrid, Paris, Vancouver, Istanbul, and now, Brussels.

    Femicide in Belgium

    Brussels’ performance adds on to the number of protests against femicide that have taken place in the city in the last year. 

    About 10,000 people gathered to protest the violence and sexual abuse against women in Brussels on Sunday, 24 November, the eve of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. They placed pairs of shoes painted red on the floor to symbolize victims of femicide.

    “The red shoes represent women killed by a man,” Julie Wauters, spokesperson for the Mirabal group, which organized the demonstration, told Reuters. “There have been about a hundred of them in the last three years.”

    The group said there are no official statistics on femicide in Belgium, according to Reuters. 

    Sheila Uría Veliz
    The Brussels Times