The latest sexual harassment accusations against Stefano Tosso and the illustrator Emanuel Medina, in addition to the complaint for psychological violence against the comedian Carolina Silva Santiesteban, show us that gender violence is an issue that involves the whole of society.
No space is free from having a potential sexual offender hiding under a facade of prestige and popularity. Even couples within the LGTBIQ + community have committed sexist violence. The situation shows that it is necessary to talk about the issue, support victims when they break the silence and learn the following lessons to forge a more just society.
Gender violence within the LGTBI community should not be made invisible
It is often believed that gender-based violence is only present between men and women, but these power structures can also be observed in homosexual couples. The reason is that since childhood we have lived with machismo, a system that, regardless of people’s sex, overvalues the masculine over the feminine.
“We have all grown up in a society that at all times has instilled in us gender roles, roles of submission and aggressiveness. We can identify that these are repeated within homosexual relationships. In the case of women, our own conception of masculinity and femininity can lead us to replicate these roles, ”explains Gabriela Zavaleta, president of Más Igualdad.
However, not only does this belief prevent the visibility of violence within the LGTBIQ + community, but also that they are victims of a double stigma that makes the reporting process more complicated. Dissidents face the danger of re-victimization and exposure to homophobic attacks.
“For those who are a victim of violence, it is difficult to describe themselves as someone who has suffered these events because of the deep-rooted stigma of blaming the victim, even if they are minors. Also, in this specific case, you don’t just have to assume that position; but also make visible that you had a homosexual relationship and that, in a country where there is a deep-rooted context of discrimination, is much more complex”, Details Brenda Álvarez, a lawyer for Promsex.
All those who commit crimes must be reported
The feminist movement’s struggle is against the patriarchal system and, therefore, they condemn cases of sexual, psychological and physical violence. However, these acts are not only performed by heterosexual men; but also homosexual, transsexual, bisexual and intersex people, who must be penalized for their crimes.
However, it is not enough to report the case. The State must train public officials in a gender perspective so that no one is re-victimized and can obtain justice. This is how Miriam Vásquez, legal advisor of the Flora Tristán Peruvian Women’s Center, explains in a previous interview for The Republic.
“Impunity must be overthrown through exclusive sanctions and pronouncements of sentences that break these gender stereotypes: that those women who exercise their personal freedom do not have to be victims of rape or justify that they are (for that reason) ”, he details.
The training should also make known the reality of the LGTBIQ + community so that they are not victims of discrimination. The president of More Equality comments on the experience of the articulation of lesbians and feminists in Lima. They investigated the treatment that CEMs gave when a lesbian or bisexual woman went to make a complaint.
“The pattern of care is still very heteronormed. If a girl says: ‘I want to report my partner, she did this to me …’ Then the other person asks: ‘And what did he do to you?’, Even though you said earlier that you were talking about a woman. The aggressor is always perceived as male, a lot of awareness and training is needed ”, he says.
Furthermore, the lawyer Brenda Álvarez mentions that guidelines and parameters are needed to investigate and punish this type of violence: “The norm is designed to understand gender violence relationships within the framework of a heterosexual relationship. There is no protocol that says how prosecutors should investigate these types of cases. It is urgent that these tools be generated ”.
The feminist struggle continues
Feminist women have fought against patriarchy since the late 18th century by establishing a movement that, far from losing strength, transforms relationships within society every day. They make visible that gender violence is an issue that involves the entire society and “that it is so structural that all people are not exempt from exercising it,” emphasizes the lawyer from Promsex.
“Feminism knew how to problematize power relations in everyday life. I think that this situation, what it does is show the essence of feminism: show this type of unequal relations and walk towards eradicating them”, Adds Brenda Álvarez.
Reality shows that the movement has driven changes in our society. “It cannot be denied that feminism is helping to modify gender roles; otherwise, we would not be seeing these changes in the functioning of the State and in how it now deals with sexual violence ”, concludes Gabriela Zavaleta.
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