Walking for women

By Lorna Ferguson

CASA is a complex local organization working with and on behalf of women and youth. The Domestic Violence Prevention department works in the community to prevent violence and to provide assistance to victims of domestic violence. On Sunday, November 25, I joined about 70 Mexicans and two other gringas on the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It was quite an experience…

a shiver of excitement ran through the crowd as we stepped carefully out onto the darkened road from El Mirador, a lone Tránsito vehicle flashing its rooftop light as it led us down the cobblestoned hill toward Centro. It was a young crowd, young and Mexican, with three of us (much older) gringas, feeling a little conspicuous in our CASA “No Mas Violencia” caps, but pleased to be marching on this International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Honored, in fact, to be present to witness the energy and passion of young Mexican women and a number of men, chanting slogans and proudly displaying colorful banners.  Domestic violence is a worldwide problem, but in Mexico the numbers are staggering, with the World Health Organization reporting that 60.1 percent of Mexican women have experienced violence.

The banners carried powerful messages exhorting women to speak out against violence, declaring “no mas violencia,” the main theme of the day. Women in the campo support groups run by CASA’s Anti-Domestic Violence program created the banners, or “mantas” which were wonderfully crafted. Startling images of beaten faces and cowering children greeted Mexicans who stood silently watching as we passed by. Mariposas (butterflies), the symbol of the movement against violence, were everywhere.

November 25 holds special significance as the date in 1960 when three young women, sisters opposed to the brutal regime of Dominican Republican dictator Rafael Trujillo Molina, were brutally bludgeoned to death on his orders. Known as Las Mariposas within their secret resistance movement, the Mirabel sisters are honored every year on the anniversary of their deaths.

Lorna Ferguson is the Canadian co-chair of the 10th Annual San Miguel Walk Against Violence held every year on January 24. For more information, go to: www.empowercasa.org/violenceprevention – or call CASA at 154-6060. For English – call Trish Snyder at (415) 121-0612.


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