Hundreds of thousands of Argentinian women were expected to take part in a national work stoppage and protest on Wednesday, following the brutal killing of a 16-year-old girl earlier this month.
Lucía Perez died in early October after allegedly being abducted, drugged, and raped in the city of Mar del Plata.
The Guardian reports:
The cruelty of her attack was such that Pérez suffered a cardiac arrest, according to prosecutor María Isabel Sánchez, who described it as “an act of inhuman sexual aggression.”
Following their assault, the assailants washed the 16-year-old in an attempt to erase forensic evidence and took her to a nearby hospital, where she died shortly after arrival from internal injuries sustained during her rape.
“I know it’s not very professional to say this, but I’m a mother and a woman, and though I’ve seen thousands of cases in my career, I’ve never seen anything like this,” prosecutor Sánchez told local media.
And Perez’s death was just one of a string of “femicides”—the deliberate killing of women—in Argentina. Since 2008, according to NGOs, 1,808 women have been violently killed in the country. Indeed, an additional three Argentinian women were killed just last week.
Wednesday’s action, in which groups called on women to wear black and to leave their places of work for an hour at midday, is in response to that violence and what one author described as “a boundless abandonment” of Argentinian women by the state. In addition to the strike and march planned for Buenos Aires, mobilizations are also expected in Jujuy, Mar del Plata, Tucumán, Chaco, Misiones, Mendoza, Córdoba, and Rosario.
“We’re calling it Black Wednesday because we’re in mourning for all of the dead women, all of the women killed simply for being women,” said Ingrid Beck of the group Ni Una Menos (Not One Less), an organizer of the protests.
“In your office, school, hospital, law court, newsroom, shop, factory, or wherever you are working, stop for an hour to demand ‘no more machista violence’,” the march organizers wrote.
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According to the Argentina Independent, solidarity protests are planned for Mexico, Guatemala, Chile, Bolivia, Uruguay, Paraguay, France, and Spain. And the Independent reports that while domestic violence and femicide are the top concerns of Wednesday’s protests, the actions “do not solely focus on these issues.”
“It is, of course, about that,” said Mercedes D’Alessandro, co-founder of Economía Feminista, an organization with strong ties to Ni Una Menos, “but it is also to show that women are very important in the economic and social life of the country. We are indispensable.”
“If nobody cleaned anything, or washed clothes, or cooked dinner—nobody could go to work,” she said. “Whether in your home it’s you, your mother, or you hire someone who does the housework, in the majority of cases it’s a woman. But this work is invisible.”
The demonstration comes less than two weeks after a mass rally was held in Santa Fe, Argentina, denouncing femicide and in defense of women’s rights.