#NiUnaMenos refers to anti-femicide demonstrations that took place in Argentina on June 3, 2015, June 3, 2016, and one that is planned for October 18, 2016.
#NiUnaMenos translates to “#NotOneLess, meaning we must not lose one more woman to violence.
Femicide in Argentina
While there are no official statistics in Argentina regarding femicides, The Guardian reported last year that:
Although official statistics are lacking, respected NGOs in this country – by compiling media reports – have calculated that a woman is killed every 30 hours because of gender violence. In the past seven years, more than 1,800 women have been killed in such circumstances. Given the absence of official reporting on femicide, this number is likely to be just the tip of the iceberg.
Where once these gender crimes, in most instances against a partner or former partner, were likely to be committed in domestic settings, in many recent cases they have made a leap into the public sphere – into coffee shops and classrooms. “Macho” gender violence has taken on perverse new forms and entered new spaces in Argentina.
The International Business Times reports that “Argentina is among 16 Latin American countries which have passed femicide legislation, introducing harsher legal penalties for those who murder women because of their gender.”
Back in 2012, the South American nation did pass a law punishing the crime with a life sentence, but the problem shows little sign of abating. Indeed, there have been more than 250 femicides every year since 2010, with a peak of 295 in 2013.
Furthermore, as La Nacion reports that law has not been fully implemented due to budgetary restrictions. Additionally, there is no criminal register set up nor is there any specially trained security and law enforcement personnel in place. The law consists of 45 articles buy only eight are fully implemented and eleven partially.
Argentina Rises Up Against Femicide Through #NiUnaMenos Demonstrations
As La Nacion reported at the time, the first protest took place at the Congressional Plaza in Buenos Aires on June 3, 2015 with nearly 300,000 people in attendance.
The demonstration was backed by women’s rights groups, unions, political organizations and the Catholic Church and as an additional article by La Nacion reported, the protest was scheduled to begin at 17:00, but the plaza was already filled at 15:00, and still had people in it at 20:30.
As The Guardian explains, the inspiration for the demonstration ‘was a tweet in which Marcela Ojeda, a radio journalist, challenged women across the country with a phrase that is already historic: ‘They are killing us: Aren’t we going to do anything?‘”
Hinde Pomeraniec, an organizer for the event, explained the events leading up that first demonstration The Guardian:
Some of us decided to do something. We protested, rallying around the slogan and hashtag #NiUnaMenos (“NotOneLess”, meaning we must not lose one more woman to violence).
The main march was to the congress in the capital city of Buenos Aires, where I and the other female organizers were astounded at the size of the crowd. Groups of women from outside the city arrived bearing photos of their relatives, slain victims of femicide. Some of them yelled their disappointment at the failure of the police and the courts to respond adequately. “I don’t want you to tell me how to dress,” read one of the handwritten placards.
For the three weeks before, a group of female journalists, intellectuals and activists had come together, explaining to others why we needed to march. We underlined that Argentina has comprehensive anti-gender violence legislation, but the law has not been fully implemented. Budgets need to be assigned. Security forces and justice officials need to be trained in how to deal with women who wish to report violent partners. An official register of femicide cases needs to be established.
We asked actors, television hosts and friends in showbiz to help. They each posed for a photo holding a sign reading #NiUnaMenos. Then, anonymous men and women, groups of friends, workmates, students, families and young children started doing the same. Politicians also joined, but only after the hashtag and the issue were already on everybody’s lips.
She summarized the demonstration itself as follows:
The silent cry of women who suffer or have suffered domestic violence broke out of hundreds of thousands of throats that afternoon. This wave of violence must be stopped. Not because it is a noble cause. It’s something much more basic. It is a human right.
Barely 24 hours after the march ended we had the first piece of good news. Supreme court justice Elena Highton announced a registry of femicides would be set up at the court. The office of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner set off a series of tweets emphasising her government’s concern. Meanwhile, the government’s Human Rights Secretariat announced it, too, would start to compile statistics on femicides.
Most important of all, judging by the massive turnout at the march, the majority of us now understand that looking away is no longer an option.
First Anniversary Demonstration – June 3, 2016
Magdalena Medley, a Thematic Specialist for the Women’s Human Rights Co-Group at Amnesty International USA, wrote of her experience attending the second demonstration held on June 3, 2016 in an article published by Amnesty International.
Medley writes that although #NiUnaMenos was begun as a response to femicide it has grown into “a broader claim for women’s rights.”
Even though this movement was born as a response to the number of murders of women in Argentina, it has quickly grown and evolved into a broader claim for women’s rights. The importance of access to sexual and reproductive rights for all women is among the many topics this movement is now fighting for. An example is the incorporation of the claim of freedom for Belen, a woman sentenced to eight years in prison for a miscarriage.
Medley went on to write that “Amnesty International recently released a report showing how the state can be a catalyst for violence against women by failing to combat and eradicate gender-based violence in the region.”
The report, which was published in March of 2016 states in part:
While discrimination against women is evident in almost all areas of life, it is in the area of sexual and reproductive health that it reaches shocking levels. It is the regulation of women’s sexuality and reproduction that most clearly reveals gender stereotypes and bias. It also brings into focus prevailing ideas about the role that women should play in society and how they are imposed on all women through legislation and highly discriminatory practices… discriminatory norms not only violate a range of human rights, they also generate violence against women and constitute torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
Medley concluded her article writing: “This fight still has a long way to go, but the fact that the movement exists is a victory in and of itself. Latin America will not stay silent and I will continue fighting to defend women’s rights and encourage others to do the same.”
Will you join the fight tomorrow?
You can also change your profile picture to the following to show your solidarity with #NiUnaMenos.