(translated from Spanish)
From far away
I hear their songs and their screams
The ground rumbles
Charged by restless spirits
Tired of making themselves small
To fit into lines drawn to cage us
We all hear it from birth and learn it as children
The life lessons all women must know
calladita te ves más bonita
cover up- respect is earned through modesty
don’t distract boys
don’t get in their way
Before learning about
The persistent power of our voices
The strength of our unity
Faced by fear,
We grew wings
We are capable of this and so much more.
Because there are many of us, and our march made the world tremble.
Because we want them back
The eleven women who are taken every day,
Who are robbed of futures, of dreams, and hopes;
We fight for them because their voices can no longer scream alongside ours.
We fight for us.
So we won’t be just another name
Painted on the walls around Palacio Nacional
On March 8th, 2022.
Femicide: so much more than a word. A plague that follows us around incessantly. Our reality. 11 women are killed every day in Mexico. 11 women every day text their mothers to tell them they don’t think they’ll make it home tonight. 11 women every day violently raped, tortured, mutilated, taken from us. 11 daily reminders that gender violence is not a thing of the past, it is our reality. It is what we know, and it is what we came out on the streets to protest on March 8th.
Claudia, Esther, Teresa, Ingrid, Fabiola, Valeria, Fátima, Paloma, Mara, Gloria, Alejandra, Andrea, Susana, Victoria, Pilar, María, Carmen, Marichuy, Claudia again.
Fátima, a seven year old girl from the outskirts of Mexico City, was last seen after she left school on February 11th, 2020. She was allegedly abducted, but no proper case was filed by the local authorities and no effort to find her was ever made. 5 days later this was unnecessary, for her body was found inside a trash bag dumped next to a river less than 3 miles away from her school.
Verónica, Martha, Sofia, Yazmin, Marcela, Victoria, Juana, María Concepción, Adriana, Gabriela, Celia, Teresa, Guadalupe, Eugenia, Ivonne, Elvira
Marichuy, a 19 year old girl, stayed after school to request help from a teacher back in 2016. Her teacher, along with a male classmate who was also in the classroom, tried to sexually abuse her. When she resisted, another group of male classmates who were around forcibly pinned her down. She continued to struggle, and together they threw her out of the fifth floor window, 40 feet above the ground. She died immediately. The teacher and fellow classmates ran away but were found a few days later. It’s been five years since her death, and there have been no consequences to any of her aggressors. The teacher was allowed to return to his position, and continues to teach at the school.
Paula, Paola, Aracely, Miriam, Brenda, Rosa, Iris, Graciela, María, Guadalupe, María, Viviana, Brenda, Sofía, Rocío, Yadira, Araceli, Adela
Mariana Sánchez was killed at 24. A few months prior to her femicide, she had filed a report to the relevant authorities for sexual abuse at the hospital where she was doing volunteer service. She was told that all she could do was go home and rest in the hopes that it would get better eventually. Her body was found not far from that same hospital on January 30th, 2021.
Yolanda, Juana, Norma, Elena, María Elena, Rebeca, Mariana, Alejandra, Ángela, Clara, Zara, Nadia, Laura, Beatriz, Bety, Martina, Andrea, Leonor
I am enraged, and although currently far away from my home, I do what I can by writing for all of them. I write because I am joining my voice to all of theirs, and I am speaking up for those who have “disappeared”. Those who risk their lives every day by speaking up. I write because this virus is killing women in my country, and it’s not getting nearly as much attention as it deserves. We need to demand justice for Fátima. For Marichuy. For Mariana. For Claudia. For María. For Fabiola. For all the women whose names wouldn’t fit on a single sheet of paper. We need to be equally loud, because this is not a problem in Mexico alone, this is a symptom of worldwide gender violence that seems to be getting worse.
If tomorrow it’s me, break everything, march loudly, scream my name, don’t forget my story.
*The title is a reference to Canción Sin Miedo, Song Without Fear, which has been the anthem of the feminist movement in Mexico in 2020 and 2021.