Hundreds of thousands marched on Plaza Congreso in Buenos Aires yesterday afternoon to demand a judicial and legislative response to the issue of gender violence and femicide under the slogan ‘Ni Una Menos’ (Not one less). They were joined by thousands more in cities across Argentina and neighbouring countries.
The historic march was convened by activists, artists, and journalists, who demanded the government consider a series of points to reinforce the fight against femicide and its related issues. These included the full implementation of the Law 26.485, aimed at eradicating violence against women, more transparency in the publication of gender violence statistics, as well as guarantees of safety for those who do report cases of abuse and the opening of more refuges and centres for victims of such abuses.
“We don’t want any more women killed by femicide. We want to stay alive. All of us. Not one less,” shouted one of the women on stage as the crowd commemorated victims of the crime.
“We do not want any more children born and orphaned,” cried Julia Carroscal, whose daughter was a victim of femicide. “We’re not objects, we’re human beings, and women bring life to life. I have great faith that hopefully this will change.”
Gregoria Mendoza, member of a group therapy for violence, said that the change must start with the government “complying with laws accordingly and [the fulfilment of] those who are responsible for doing the work.” However, she said that the underlying problem lies in society and she would like to see a change in the educational system to promote safety for women.
The act concluded with a warm round of applause mixed with feelings of frustration and hope as the speakers concluded with the statement: “We affirm the right to say no to what is not desired: a couple, a pregnancy, a sexual act, a prescribed way of life. We affirm the right to say no to social mandates of submission and obedience. And because we say no, we say yes to our decisions about our bodies, our emotional lives, our sexuality, our participation in society, at work, in politics and elsewhere.”
Hugh Stanley was also on the scene in Córdoba, where police estimated upwards of 50,000 people took part in the march, which ended in Plaza Velez Sarsfield with a concert.