Posts tagged: women

March to protest sexual violence in Costa Rica

As part of an international movement to protest sexual violence, Costa Ricans will march tomorrow, Sunday, August 14, meeting at 10 am in front of San Jose’s Metropolitan Cathedral.

The so-called “SlutWalk” (Marcha de las Putas in Spanish) is meant to call attention to the pernicious practice of blaming the victim if she is raped or assaulted. The first SlutWalk was held in Toronto in April 2011, after a Toronto policeman suggested that to remain safe, “women should avoid dressing like sluts.”

Since then, there have been SlutWalks in Mexico, India, England, Nicaragua, and Honduras, according to an article in Costa Rica’s La Nacion. Women (and men) march, some dressed in provocative clothing, to protest explaining or excusing rape by referring to any aspect of a woman’s appearance.

Local slant: The local impetus for this march came on August 2 when Catholic Bishop Jose Francisco Ulloa addressed a crowd of pilgrims at Cartago’s Basilica, part of the yearly pilgrimage to honor Costa Rica’s patron saint, the Virgin of the Angeles.

The SlutWalk meets Aug. 14 at San Jose's cathedral

Ulloa called on women to dress “modestly” in order not to be “dehumanized” and “objectified.” He also said that “The sexual gift that God gave women is wrapped in love and fidelity for its ultimate purpose: fertilization.”

Mexican Cardinal Francisco Robles (representing Pope Benedict XVI) said that a woman’s mission “does not consist of emulating men, but rather in creating a more humane world by exercising creativity in the household.”

Can “slut” be redeemed? Using the hot-button word “slut” for these activist marches has gotten mixed reviews.  It makes sense given the initial provocation—a Toronto policeman saying that to be safe, women must not dress like sluts. And many say the word—slut—can be reclaimed, redeemed and redefined just as words like “queer” and “dyke” have been. Others, like writers Gail Dines and Wendy J Murphy, say that the word slut is inherently indivisible from the madonna/whore binary opposition and thus “beyond redemption.”

An article about the march in Costa Rica’s Spanish language daily, La Nacion, provoked many comments from readers, including this one from Adolfo Santana:

“Las mujeres deberian dedicarse a lo que son buenas y para lo que biologicamente tienen sentido: A incubar y criar hijos, del resto de cosas nos ocupamos los hombres. Ya es hora de ponernos serios, si un hombre dice que es Machista…es tabú y estigma…pero si una mujer dice que es Feminista…entonces es una heroína. Lo peor es que son feministas y todo lo que pretenden es parecer hombres, pero con genitales femeninos…”

“Women should pursue what is right and what makes sense biologically: incubating and raising children, the other things men will take care of. It’s time to get serious, if a man says he’s macho it’s taboo and stigmatized…but if a woman says she is a feminist…she is a heroine. The worst is that they are feminists and all they want is to be like men, but with female genitalia …”

Looks like Ticas (Costa Rican women) have their work cut out for them.