Gina Mei
June 04, 2015 12:43 pm

On Wednesday, tens of thousands of people marched across Argentina in peaceful protest, condemning femicide and violence against women in a country where they have become endemic. A majority of the marches took place in Buenos Aires, with many protesting outside of the Palace of the Argentine National Congress. Protestors carried posters and wore shirts depicting the faces of the many women lost to gender-based violence. #NiUnaMenos (“Not One Less”) was their uniting rally cry.

Now, the message is echoing across social media.

#NiUnaMenos started last month as a grassroots campaign against the prevalence of femicides — killing women because of their gender — and violence against women in many Latin American countries. As USA Today reports, “Including the Caribbean, Latin America is home to more than half of the world’s 25 countries with the highest femicide rates.” And while some countries, like El Salvador and Bolivia, have laws in place meant to protect women by criminalizing gender-based violence, many have pointed out that they often aren’t being implemented or executed very effectively.

According to the Center of Information and Development of Women in La Paz, between 2007 and 2011, authorities only intervened in 96 out of 442,000 reported incidents of gender-based violence in Bolivia — a mere 0.0002% of reported cases. #NiUnaMenos is the result of growing frustrations and anger over just how horrible this violence has become — and how little has been done to change it.

“Twitter made a demand that has been fundamental for the women’s movement for decades to go mainstream. The role of social networks is important, but it does not give content to the claim,” journalist and member of the movement Ingrid Beck told the Buenos Aires Herald.

“There were deaths. Without activism, nothing explodes on Twitter,” Vanina Escales, another member, added. So they took #NiUnaMenos to the streets.

Yesterday’s demonstrations were in part prompted by the murder of 14-year-old Chiara Paez last month in Argentina. She was found buried in her boyfriend, Manuel Mansilla’s, backyard after he allegedly beat her to death when he found out she was pregnant. But Paez’s death was far from an isolated case. The month before, 44-year-old kindergarten teacher Maria Eugenia Lanzetti was murdered in front of her students when her estranged husband snuck into her classroom and slit her throat.

“The [protest] was the result of a a social concern, but also of the historic struggle of feminists,” sociologist María Pía López told Revolution News.

This march is not against anyone. It is just to say that society is rising up to say no more gender violence,” Fabiana Tuñez, a leader at women’s rights group La Casa del Encuentro, continued.

La Casa del Encuentro estimates that there was a femicide every 34 hours in Argentina between 2008 and 2014. This is over 1,800 women — and it’s impossible to know just how many cases have gone unreported. While Argentina adopted a specific law against femicide in 2012, it has obviously not been enough — and #NiUnaMenos is a call for solidarity and change.

“This is a unanimous cry for coordinated action that tackles the problem,” actor Juan Minujín told The New York Times. “We don’t want more tears of mourning.”

(Images via.)

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