March 8th, 8:00 am. The poster inviting women to Merida’s Monumento a la Patria is simple; the safety instructions that follow for those attending are not. After men in Mexico City threaten to attack the manifestation with acid, feminist activist groups became alarmed. Once again, we are all stricken with the anger and fear of being hated because we are women.
It is hard to believe that in 2020 women are still fighting to have a voice, to make choices about their bodies, to be equally represented in our government, or be paid as much as men. This year’s manifestation was about not any of the above. This year, women took the streets in Mérida and many other cities full of rage, fury, and disgust over the femicides that have occurred in the country, the lack of response by the government, the failure to prevent them from happening and the severe deficiency in punishment of those who commit them.
In Mérida, waves of purple and green scarfs are observed. Most worn proudly by feminist activists who carried posters bearing powerful phrases and sang and danced to “Un Violador en Tu Camino,” the anthem created by Lastesis, a feminist collective from Chile. A hymn that has traveled all around the world and has been performed in multiple languages.
You may have heard about “Un día sin nosotras” the strike held on March 9th. You may have seen that many businesses, banks, schools, and colleges have been demonstrating approval toward and even supporting women who choose not to attend their activities as part of the strike. What you may not hear about is the meaning behind the strike, which is to take a stand against impunity.
It is for women to act as if the one who disappeared, were each one of them as if they were to become one more number of the growing statistic of women who are murdered violently in our country every day.
Today, if you are a man, go to work, cook your meals, pretend that your mother, your wife, your daughter, your niece, is gone. Feel the pain that someone else has to feel every day of their life and then be grateful that your loved one is still by your side. If you are a man, stop making woman’s importance about them being your mother, your sister, your daughter, or your niece, because like you, we matter, and it is not because we are related to you. It is because we are human beings too, and as such, we deserve to be heard, we deserve to live a life free of harm, and we deserve to live our lives however we choose.
If you don’t understand yet, that is okay, because we will continue to fight every day of our lives so that every woman who leaves home gets to come back. Every little girl can stay at school late without being tortured and murdered, and so no woman ends up on the front page of the newspaper raped, murdered, and dismembered while her murderers’ face is blurred out.
As a woman, I ask not for permission nor approval. I ask for nothing other than respect. I wish no other female has to face sexual harassment on the street or in her workplace. I desire nothing less than to live a life free of violence and free of being valued solely on my ability to birth a child.
To you, the only thing that I plead is that if I must go as my sisters. If I am found raped, tortured, and murdered, know that I went fighting and hoping that my death would be the last one. Tell my friends and my mother to remember what I looked like when I was happy, how I sang and danced carefree, and how I scram for every woman that was gone, not just on March 8th, but every other day.
Remember me, not as the girl found inside a plastic bag on the side of the road, but as the girl whose life was taken before becoming the woman she meant to become.
March 09 2020
Marina Urioste is a law major at Anahuac Mayab University. She is currently studying International Public Law at Universidad Alfonso X “el Sabio” in Madrid, Spain. She is a proud feminist and defender of animal rights
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