SlutWalk Lands in Tegucigalpa

  June 19, 2011

SlutWalk Lands in Tegucigalpa

Honduran capital's "Marcha de las Putas" becomes latest site for international movement against blaming victims for sexual violence
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The Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa is the latest in roughly 80 cities internationally to hold a SlutWalk. Marchers in Honduras came out for a variety of reasons including: bringing an end to street harassment, demanding an end to the rising rate of murdered women in the country, reproductive rights in a country where the morning after pill is banned and abortion carries a 3-6 year prison sentence.

Produced by Jesse Freeston.


SlutWalk Lands in TegucigalpaJESSE FREESTON, TRNN: The international phenomenon known as SlutWalk has now reached the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa. SlutWalk began on April 3 in Toronto, Canada, when 3,000 people marched to Toronto police headquarters to protest a constable's advice to a university security conference that, quote, women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized. In just over two months, SlutWalks have been organized in at least 80 cities, representing every continent on the globe. From Brazil to Kyrgyzstan to South Africa, people are saying that the victim should never be blamed for sexual violence regardless of what they're wearing.

(SUBTITLED TRANSL.): It's a struggle to stop men from harassing women in the street. Enough already! No means no!

FREESTON: For lawyer, Nelly Moreno, the march was about the freedom to wear what she wants.

(SUBTITLED TRANSL.): As lawyers, we can't wear mini-skirts inside the Supreme Court, because it's immoral. Why? We're not the immoral ones! The men are the immoral ones!

FREESTON: ... co-organized the event with her group [incompr.] the Tegucigalpa chapter of Hollaback!, an international women-led movement to end street harassment. For ..., the march is also about confronting the dangerous combination of male dominance and impunity that puts Honduran women at risk, as seen in the high occurrence of femicide, the killing of women for being women.

They're increasing every day. We believe that women are not only victims of sexual harassment, but they're also victims of domestic violence. And we have a big level of impunity from the state institutions.

FREESTON: A woman is murdered every 24 hours in Honduras, and nine out of ten cases never see the inside of a courtroom. When the head of the DNIC, the Honduran equivalent of the FBI, was asked to explain the rise in the killing of women, he said, quote, the most significant factor is gender equality. Women are participating in roles that were previously carried out by men. Today we see women driving taxis, driving a truck. This shows how much Honduran society is changing, and therefore it is normal to see women dying. Gender equality is the principal reason that women are now involved in violent affairs linked to organized gangs and common crime. But according to the research of ..., the region's foremost expert on femicide, only 12 percent of female homicides in Honduras can be linked to organized crime. Meanwhile, in 40 percent of the cases, the killer is either a current or former lover, while more than 9 percent of the killings result from sexual attacks, and almost 8 percent of the women are being killed by their family members. All in all, according to ..., in roughly three-quarters of the cases, the women were killed in one way or another for being women. This is the polar opposite of the conclusion of the Honduran police chief that they are being killed for taking on male roles. Also marching was Sandra Maribel, the director of the Tegucigalpa radio station Radio Gualcho.

(SUBTITLED TRANSL.): The use of language to discriminate based on the way we dress is related to the broader women's struggle in Honduras. There's lots of violence inside the home, and we want to change that. Maybe a good place to start is by changing the language used to refer to us women.

FREESTON: Marcher ..., an HIV/AIDS prevention worker, urged people to consider how the word slut is used to discriminate against the trans community as well.

(SUBTITLED TRANSL.): Women and trans people who choose to dress sexy shouldn't be called sluts.

(SUBTITLED TRANSL.): It's time for us to be open.

FREESTON: Fernando Reyes of Honduras's diversity and resistance movement saw the march as a response to all forms of intolerance.

(SUBTITLED TRANSL.): Today is the best example, seeing all the youth of the sexual diversity and various cultural collectives demonstrating and realizing that even as youths they have a right to be who they want to be.

FREESTON: As a final gesture before wrapping up the event, participants took turns writing messages on the side of the city's main Catholic cathedral.

TEXT ON SCREEN: "Society tells us not to let ourselves be raped. When it should tell us 'don't rape.'"

The church is one of the institutions that has repressed women's rights the most, especially in a Catholic country like ours. Abortion is illegal in Honduras, not only for the women, 'cause it's criminalized--it's from three to six years in jail. And the doctor also is penalized and its license is restricted.

FREESTON: Recently, the Congress also made it illegal to buy or sell the morning-after pill.

Because the morning-after pill is the right that we have to choose when and in the period of times that we want to be pregnant and have our babies. And we should have the right to decide how we want to plan our life. Without that, we have no reproductive health and rights, which are human rights.

(SUBTITLED TRANSL.): The women's struggle isn't isolated from the larger struggle of the Honduran people. It's a liberation struggle, not only in the political sense, but in every sense. And the Honduran women have been active participants in the resistance against the coup d'etat. But we're not doing it to be passengers. We want the order of things to change in this country.

FREESTON: Co-organizer ... was excited with the results.

Middle-class countries, they have--most of the population has access to internet and that type of activism. Here in Honduras we have to be more creative, because we know that the majority of people don't even have a computer. So we started thinking of ways to start a new movement, and we came to hear about the march. And for a week we planned, and now we have a lot of people here.

FREESTON: From Tegucigalpa for The Real News Network, I'm Jesse Freeston.

End of Transcript

DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


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