‘The rapist is the state’: Chile’s viral anti-rape culture anthem takes on Liège
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    ‘The rapist is the state’: Chile’s viral anti-rape culture anthem takes on Liège

    Credit: Colectivo Registro Callejero/Youtube

    After a stunt in Brussels, a Chilean performative protest calling out government inaction on violence against women will take on the Walloon city of Liège at the weekend.

    The feminist demonstration was first staged in the Chilean city of Valparaíso amid violent government crackdowns on massive protests in the country and saw a massive turnout in which women over 40 figured prominently.

    The performance quickly went viral for its unvarnished depiction of governments, police, judges and a collective “you” as rapists, underscoring a collective social failure to take violence against women seriously.

    After spurring sister protests in cities across the world the protest recently made it into Belgium, with a group of around a hundred women in Brussels performing the protest in the original Spanish and later in French at the weekend.

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    The upcoming weekend will see the event take on Liège, where the central Gare de Guillemins has been chosen for the anti-rape anthem’s display.

    “We were extremely moved by seeing that the movement spread out across different parts of the world,” Victoria Sepulveda, one of the organisers of the Liège event, said in a phone interview.

    “The fact that women in different countries felt concerned by what was started by the women of Chile, that these issues could be transposed into the lives and into the realities different women live through worldwide is quite telling,” she added.

    Sepulveda, a Belgian of Chilean and Kurdish origin, said she was an active supporter of feminist groups and initiatives in Liège but that she and the other organisers and participants to the event were taking part in at as “women and ordinary citizens.”

    Largely organised via a grassroots approach in the image of the Brussels event, a Facebook group launched for the organisation of the event has gathered nearly 2,000 members so far.

    The group saw a bustling of activity after its creation, with members posting example videos of the performance, shared the translated lyrics and organised rehearsals in preparation for the main event.

     

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    “The fact that this movement became viral shows that women the world over, including in Liège, feel concerned by the problem and connected with each other through this protest,” Sepulveda said.

    Sepulveda said that one aim of the protest was to reach out to women in Liège and offer them a space to express themselves in the fight against sexism and sexual and physical violence against women in Belgium.

    But the protest chant also aimed to call out the Belgian state, she said, noting that 22 women have already been killed so far this year, and 37 in 2018.

    “Over 20 women have been murdered in Belgium since the start of the year, the term femicide is still not inscribed in the penal code and it remains, even today, extremely difficult for a woman to file a complaint when she is the victim of violence,” Sepulveda said.

    “By speaking more and more about it, we hope that things will get moving,” she added.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times