The Power of Women’s Resistance: 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence

In the past two weeks commemorating the 16 days of women’s activism, we have witnessed a captivating brand of resistance: the women of Chile in blindfolds moving to a poetic rhythm that has now become a global feminist anthem. The protest song “A Rapist In Your Path” has now been replicated throughout the rest of the Americas and Europe. 

We in AF3IRM could not agree more, the rapist is the state, the president, the cops. The patriarchy. We recognize those brave protesters– and the feminist theater group Lastesis for writing the protest chant that has fueled a beautiful and ongoing display of resistance.

In the same breath that our Chilean sisters covered their eyes with bandanas as a searing depiction of their state’s brutal practice of mutilating the eyes of protesters, we refuse to look away from the crisis that has befallen our Indigenous sisters. Last year, dozens of Indigenous women went missing in rural parts of Montana. The Urban Indian Health Institute (UIHI) identified 506 cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls across 71 U.S. cities. 

We believe that sex trafficking is the act of patriarchy claiming women’s bodies for its own pleasure and profit. We know that Native women and girls are disproportionately impacted as they are 2.5 times more likely to be raped/sexually assaulted than any other women in the U.S, making them extra vulnerable to trafficking and prostitution. We also know that young trans women and girls are funneled into the sex industry at an alarming rate, groomed into a life where their safety and future are uncertain.

We believe our sisters in Korea when they say that the U.S. military’s presence has endangered their lives for decades. So-called camptowns comprised of brothels have sprouted on Korean soil since the signing of the 1953 Korea-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty, which gives US troops access to Korean bases. The Korean War produced thousands of displaced orphans, mostly women, who got trapped in these camptowns. One such story as reported by Salon.com was that of a woman named Jeon, who came to a camptown as an 18-year-old orphan in 1956. “Women like me were the biggest sacrifice for my country’s alliance with the Americans. Looking back, I think my body was not mine, but the government’s and the U.S. military’s,” she said.

Our sisters bravely lay their bodies on the line, from Mauna Kea to Palawan, in order to defend their land, liberate their communities, and assert their right to exist. AF3IRM women are still on the front lines despite months of state violence and attempts to repress and displace native people.

We remember our Black sisters who are dying at the hands of the state and the police. We condemn and fight against the racist system that has institutionalized the assault on Black women’s bodies. We continue to say our sisters’ names.

We see how women’s lives are threatened both in the domestic and public domains. The woman who is physically assaulted and gaslighted for being herself, for living her truth. Domestic violence. Revenge porn. Cyber violence. Femicide. It is highly disturbing that there is a name for every type of violence against women. It is thus clear that the patriarchy and its tentacles of misogyny are continuously encroaching on every aspect of a woman’s life. From the moment we are born we are inspected and prodded through a gendered lens.

Nevertheless, we in AF3IRM celebrate the resistance born out of our intersectional struggles. The power forged out of our hardened resolve to rise above our marginalization. We honor every collective and individual form of resistance unfolding in spaces where we are expected to participate in silence. Women who storm classrooms and the Congress, those who take to the streets to fight for their rights and defy their exploitation. 

As we close this year’s 16 days, we in AF3IRM give honor to our fallen sisters while exalting the voice of women’s resistance. We demand an end to all forms of violence against women! The Resistance is upon us and the women are leading it!

Land and Women are not for conquest! 

Defend the Land, Liberate Women!

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