For some women in the world the 8th of March is just another ordinary day, but for women in Bolivia it is ‘the day’ that they fight against violence. We marched on the streets in Sucre (Bolivia) with around 50 women who all have something in common; they are humiliated and scarred for life. I’ve asked myself the question, will this ever stop?!
Sucre – ‘la ciudad blanca’ or white city, is the capital of Bolivia which lies at an elevation of 2,810 meters. Many of the buildings in the center of this beautiful white-washed town date back to the 16th century. It’s famous for it’s historic buildings, indigenous culture, nightlife, bars and restaurants. An old-world charm place that is unlike any other. It seems so peaceful, but a lot happens behind doors.
A memorable day in Bolivia we will never forget!
In the early morning we walked with our group of volunteers to the Levantate de Mujer office where around 50 women were ready to march the streets of Sucre. And we marched with them!
They were holding brown papers and shouted what rights they should and want to have: the right to study, the right to work, the right to choose who to marry…… To make an end to discrimination based on gender!
We gathered around at Playa Major with lots of other women and luckily also some men.
Aracely, 21 years old – Marilena, 17 years – Ligia, 36 year – these are a few of the names and ages of women who are murdered, beaten to dead or burned. These names are visible on a ribbon of waving flags on the square. The leaders of Levantate de Mujer gave interviews to local radio and tv shows. The problem is clearly visible today and that’s definitely needed.
In the afternoon we spoke with some of the women who participate in projects of Levantate de Mujer.
Patricia – “My husband punched me several times. I got 3 fractured ribs and a damaged face and more.. But even worse, he physically humiliated me.”
Her story got me. She closed her eyes and began her story:
” I haven a violent past, my husband punched me several times. I got 3 fractured ribs and a damaged face and a lot more.. But even worse, he physically humiliated me. I wasn’t good enough for him and my children. He tortured one of my children and she died. I still didn’t know what to do, so I let him do his thing for many years. Eventually I got in contact with this organization via a neighbor. I left my husband and I’m still so happy that I did! My children an I spoke with a psychologist and we learned how to move forward. I want to be there for my children, so therefore I learned how to cook, sew etc. I got my confidence back and my children do much better!”
We cried with her and we were quiet for a few minutes….
You will find more info about Levantate de Mujer and Mensen Met een Missie here
All images are shot by Ilsoo van Dijk