In the same weekend, in May, 3 women were killed by their partners or ex-partners, in less than 24 hours.
Strangled. Stabbed. Found tied and gagged.
(The gags must have been invisible for a long time).
Since the beginning of the year 27 women have been killed in Spain. 27. From these murders, these deaths, 11 children became orphans. 11 children whose mums were murdered.
Meanwhile, several mobilisations in which women are protesting for the Spanish government to act, regarding gender violence, are taking place. For the government to take care of the people, to take care of the women. But no one seems to listen.
These women were protesting at the beginning of the year, they were in hunger strike in Madrid. In March, the government said they would act. They told them to go home. They went home. The government did nothing. And now they are back to the protests.
In March 2017, the Valencia city hall, organised an urban art event, with the objective to raise awareness regarding equality between men and women, and for the overcoming of the gender stereotypes. This event was also open to the diversity of cultures and to people with functional diversity.
The city asked the artists to work on a 90 metres long wall, that would be a symbol of the advances to an equal society, which is, according to them, where they want Valencia to go. But, after it was finished, the art did not last much more than a month.
In April, the wall was vandalised, the works were covered and filled with insults.
We are still afraid of the “F-word”.
We are still afraid of witches.
It is easy not to see when something doesn’t affect us.
I never saw this before, until one day, some years ago, it started to happen to me. First, it was at work. And then I saw what was happening, or had happened to some of my friends, and to other women all over the world.
Then, I started to see what happens to refugee women and girls fleeing from wars.
And I started to see women in South America disappearing and being found dead some time after. Every day.
And I saw that in Spain, women try to make their voices heard regarding gender based violence. And no one listens.
And I can’t stay quiet. Even if I never get slapped again in my life, there are other women who will be. Right now. In this moment. I can’t stay quiet, I can’t be complicit in this. No one can. We need to protest and shout out loud, that women are being killed because they are women.
Edinburgh, 20th of May 2017
Dear man working at the post office,
I went to your work because I wanted to send two letters to very distant countries. When you saw the envelopes, you complained about how big my address was. You said that it was enough for me to have written my name and my post-code. You know, man at the post office, that is my full address, and you shouldn’t question how big or small it is. I know the importance of the documents I was sending so, just tell me how much I have to pay to send it. Without questioning the number of characters I’ve written.
You’ve noticed my accent. My foreign accent. When I said where I am from, you immediately answered:
– What a wonderful place. What are you doing here?
(looking at me as if I was silly for choosing the place where I am now)
I answered: I like being here.
And you said: Oh, women, women always want something different to what you have, isn’t it?
I didn’t answer. Just got my change, and went back to work.
You know, man at the post office: I am fortunate enough to choose for myself.
I am fortunate enough to choose where I want to travel, where I want to live, where I want to be. I am fortunate enough to choose what makes me happy.* And my ability to choose is something I really value.
I don’t have to justify why I choose Scotland. Why I want to be here. I did not make any assumption about you, man at the post office.
You know, sunny days aren’t the only reason for happiness.
Man at the post office, accept the fact that people have different needs, and we all are struggling with something. Accept other people’s choices, as long as they don’t arm others, and don’t question it. And please… don’t think you are entitled to question my choices. They are only mine.
Don’t create expectations with what I should do or be, man at the post office. If you do, you will be disappointed for sure.
*(I am just not fortunate enough to know how to answer in these situations. But I also don’t want to engage in conversations like this one.)
Who I really am.
Madrid Hunger Strikes Highlight Women’s Opposition to Gender Based Violence