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Protagonists for Change: Women Against Violence in Latin America


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Violence against women pervades every culture.  Sources say one of every three women is abused at some point in their lives. In Latin America, sexism and impunity contribute to violence against women. But the region is also home to powerful female voices, and effective movements for the advancement of women.

Pink crosses mark the site where women's bodies were found in the dusty ground of a hill overlooking a shantytown in Juarez. Credit: Kari Lydersen via Carnegie Council


Patricia Branez, Centro de Informacion y Desarollo de la Mujer (CIDEM); Viviana Apaza, mother of a murdered woman in El Alto, Bolivia; Colonel Rosalio Alvarez Claros, Chief of Crimes Division, El Alto, Bolivia; Irma Campos, Gender Department, Bolivia’s Ministry of Justice; ‘Valentina’, survivor of domestic violence in Bolivia; Ana Cordero, resident of Juarez, Mexico;Dolores Dorantes, Coordinator, Documentacion y Estudios de Mujeres (DEMAC); Irma Casas, Director, Casa Amiga Rape Crisis Center in Juarez, Mexico;Jayariyú Farias Montiel, Venezuelan indigenous health organizer and media activist.

Contributing Producers: Ruxandra Guidi, Joe Richey

New ‘Femicide Law’  in Bolivia Put Forth to Curb Murder of Women

In the South American country Bolivia, violent crimes against young women have risen dramatically. Between 2008 and 2009, cases of violence by boyfriends, husbands, and fathers, went up by 10% in the capital, La Paz, alone. Though random attacks against women and sex workers do occur, there is no way to know whether they too have been on the rise. Almost none of these cases have — or are likely — to face justice. But a new law that may pass by the end of 2010, would give a sentence of up to 30 years’ prison for the murder of women — the same sentence given for the murder of men. It’s seen as a revolutionary first step in combating the rising rates of violence, and as one way of gathering data and combating misogyny in this traditional South American country. Ruxandra Guidi has more from La Paz.

Women for Women in Juarez

In some cities you can get away with murder more easily than in others. Killing women with impunity can be easier still. In Ciudad Juárez, in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, there have been nearly 500 known cases of femicide in under two decades. Untold numbers of women remain missing. In our next story, independent border reporter Joe Richey speaks to several women in Juarez about what it’s like to live in the most violent city in the world – and, what they’re doing about it.

Cultural and Legal Advances for Women in Venezuela

Indigenous women are especially vulnerable in Latin America – many don’t have access to education, medical care, police protection, or transportation. But recently, there have been some legal and cultural advances for women in Venezuela. That’s according to indigenous health organizer Jayariyú Farias Montiel. She spoke at the 2010 U.S Social Forum in Detroit. She said President Hugo Chavez has initiated some of these judicial protections, women in Venezuela are the protagonists of change in their own lives.

For more information:

DEMAC – Documentación y Estudios de Mujeres, A.C.

Radio Internacional Feminista (FIRE)

Global Fund for Women

The Juarez Project
(Demanding Rights, Resources, and Results for Women Worldwide)

‘One in Three’ Campaign Against Violence Against Women

UNIFEM – Violence Against Women information


In the Cut – by Calexico
Latcho Drom – by Dorado Schmitt
BSO – by The Platform

Author: Radio Project

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