I am outraged by the fact that March the 8th, International Women's Day, is turned into yet another consumerist event where they hold raffles for beauty products, consumer vouchers for household appliances, or where they offer tickets for romantic music concerts or tickets for romantic dinners. What does any of that have to do with Women's Day?
Do they know that currently in Peru it is dangerous to be a woman? Right now, every two days a woman is found dead, her throat cut, dismembered, and her body disposed of inside a barrel or a suitcase, thrown away as some sort of garbage. In many instances, their deaths are left unpunished, and leave orphaned children who will grow up with the knowledge that their mothers were victims of violence. And, do you pretend to offer a coupon for an anti-aging ointment for Women's Day to those orphans? Rubbish! We need to remember every March the 8th that the lives of hundreds, thousands, millions of women are lost in the hands of men, men who are usually their boyfriends, husbands or partners; we need to remember that in wartime and during socioeconomic crises, the most affected population are women and children; and that even in the middle of the social networks era, in some countries girls are still being isolated when they menstruate and they are still getting their clitorises cut off in a bloody "cultural" practice.
We do not need the recitation of a poem that says: "woman is the most noble, sweet and tender being on the planet", NO! Because we not all of us are sweet nor tender. I would like to see them exalt our bravery, our courage and our intelligence, instead of qualities that describe a weak being, when it is well known that we are strong because even though our main predator belongs to our same species, we are still here: ALIVE, not yet declared extinct.
Although we live with fear, and claim that "going back home, I want to be free, I do not want to be brave", it is our lot to keep on being brave for a while longer, because it will take more than just a couple of years for male chauvinism, violence and patriarchy to be over. For a while longer, we will have to keep on walking with our keys in our hands, with pepper spray in our purses, and letting know our best friend via WhatsApp: "I made it home alright", before we can walk freely and without fear. It is terrible to live with fear, but this is the way we grow up from the moment our mothers teach us: "do not talk to men you do not know", "do not walk alone at night", "do not go near that man who is looking weirdly at us". From that moment, we understand: we do not live in a safe environment, we do not grow up in a safe environment.
And now, you are going to congratulate us with a discount in shoes? Ludicrous! We need that every March the 8th and every day the population gets some education, girls and boys should be made aware of the fact that women here and in some other countries are being KILLED "because of jealousy", "because they said NO", "because they said YES", and "just because", because someone can kill us and still go unpunished. Because our legal body will ask first: "WHAT MUST SHE HAVE DONE IN ORDER TO END UP LIKE THIS?", before asking: "who is the murderer?". Because, if you have a child as a young person, they will say: "oh, she's an easy girl", and if you have an abortion, they will say: "you are a murderer". Children should be made aware of the fact that people pass judgement constantly, but if you are a woman, they will judge you twice, thrice and four times as harshly.
We do not want flowers. We want respect. We do not want you to hold raffles for beauty creams, we want to get home alive. We do not want romantic songs, we want PARITY and EQUITY, we want a tomorrow where our daughters, nieces, granddaughters and friends can travel safe and sound, and not get raped on some beach and have people saying afterwards: "it's her fault for travelling alone". We do not want roses, or flowers, or insipid poems; we want them to recognize our bravery, our courage, our intelligence, and that they give us the same opportunities to access political, social and economic positions as our male peers.
This and every March the 8th, do not tell us "HAPPY WOMEN'S DAY". Tell us: "I understand your struggle, and I fully support you, partner".Change starts with a story.