Against sexual terror, the right to live in freedom, by Montserrat Pineda

We grow up with fear in the body: watch, where are you going? Watch, with whom? Watch, come early. Watch out, don’t come back alone. Watch. Watch. Watch. We women of all ages and conditions do not have to watch, we do not have to be afraid. They cannot continue to restrict our freedom, the right to our body and in our life. We are not responsible or guilty of suffering sexual assaults. The sexual terror that is imposed on us is a mechanism of the patriarchal and macho system to control and submit us; to reduce our movements and limit our rights. But we are already fed up and we say enough. And we say it from the street and from the institutions.

Enough of the fear that the system inoculates us, deep down, in the beliefs, in the traditions and in the education received. It is enough to be passive agents that from individual action we are constantly alert to avoid being attacked. It is enough that the responsibility for the violence exercised by men is ours. We have the right to exercise our freedom, to move, to dress, to enjoy, to do and undo. And we have the right to have these rights respected. And the institutions have the obligation to guarantee them, in the private space and in the public.

We account 1,558 sexual crimes in the first 9 months of this 2021, an unacceptable figure that highlights the consequences of an unfair and unequal system. We want to eradicate the structural sexual violence that we suffer, but also the mechanisms that sustain them and that strengthen and make them survive the patriarchal system. AND To do this, profound measures are needed, which shake and break with atavistic gears that, like all power, have found a way to protect themselves in order to survive. In this sense, from the Ministry of Equality and Feminisms We have begun to activate strategies that can shake the foundations of this patriarchal model.

We are developing a model to address sexual violence that, in addition to activating measures to provide comprehensive care for women, prevents revictimitzaciones and addresses institutional violence; focuses on the prevention and awareness of men and society as a whole from a feminist perspective. Changing the sexist imaginaries of sexual crimes, and breaking prejudices and stereotypes linked to the sexual and reproductive rights of women, is one of our priorities. In this framework, National Strategy for Sexual and Reproductive Rights it is a key pillar to guarantee these rights in the entire population, especially to women, girls and trans people.

In this task of prevention and awareness, we cannot forget the key role of the media. The morbid, stereotyped and contextless media coverage of sexual crimes has contributed to strengthening patriarchal mechanisms such as sexual terror. The media are key agents for the transformation of sexist imaginaries that they stop blaming and re-victimizing women who suffer violence. It takes the involvement of everyone.

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We know that there will be sexual violence as long as the power system of men is maintained above the rest, as long as women’s bodies are a space of occupation and domination. And while we put an end to this system, activating measures and strategies that guarantee our rights, we have to empower everyone to be active agents with the right to exercise our freedom.

Watching is over, fear is over. You have to stop thinking that they are isolated events and understand how social control over our lives is articulated. Let us deactivate the patriarchal mechanism of sexual terror and in a transversal manner throughout society, and with the impulse of the Ministry, let us sensitize, accompany, educate, act, hold responsibility and execute response, intervention and reparation measures to achieve a society that guarantees us to all live safely and freely. This year we will once again fill the streets the November 25 and every day of the year because the right to enjoy life in freedom is inalienable.

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