At noon on Tuesday, Dominican activists across the Internet started sharing a video of a young woman named Marelys, who was giving a testimony about the abuse she faced at the hands of an intimate partner. This is the first of upcoming videos under the hashtag and campaign #HablemosDeIgualdad (#LetsTalkEquality)—meant to raise awareness about violence against women and the importance of speaking about gender issues in school.
The issue of femicides and violence against women has taken the country by storm, particularly following the assassination of Anibel González Ureña, a lawyer who was killed by her abusive ex-partner after he was released from prison. By the end of July, 47 women had been assassinated by their partners in the country according to government data.
“The idea is to describe characteristics of an education of gender equality, like the advantage that it will have for boys, girls and families,” the organizers behind the campaign told the newspaper Hoy.
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Hola! Hoy a partir de las 12 del mediodía te pedimos que #HablemosDeIgualdad compartiendo este primer video que habla sobre las ventajas de educar en igualdad de género en las escuelas del país. Envía el video a tus contactos y grupos de WhatsApp, y en Instagram, Twitter y Facebook. ¡Recuerda usar #HablemosDeIgualdad para seguir la conversación! ¡Contamos contigo, gracias!
“If I was a teacher, I would tell my students that you can’t take beatings my a man,” Marelys, 22, says in the video.
The campaign is organized by a collective of activists and organizations who began sharing the message quickly via Whatsapp, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Following the assassination of González Ureña, 30, in late August, activists have organized a call to protest in front of the Supreme Court on Mondays at 6 p.m. to demand an end to violence against women with the hashtag #NiUnaAnibelMás (Not One More Anibel).
Her case caught the national eye because of the profile of her attacker—a well-known business owner named Yasmil Oscar Fernández Estévez, who was already in prison for attempting to murder González Ureña in 2017. He was released after an alleged agreement with the Public Ministry. The agreement was that he would serve 5 years, only one and a half in prison.
González Ureña feared for her safety following his impending release. Text messages have surfaced from a conversation via Whatsapp.
— edith febles (@edithfebles) September 4, 2019
Much like the 2018 case of Emely Peguero, which involved the son of a local politician, the combination of corruption and gender violence (as well as lack of protection and justice), captured the national eye, causing widespread indignation.
Other stories of similar violence have began surfacing and gaining national attention, specifically that of women who have suffered at the hands of an abusive intimate partner and haven’t received protection. Recently, a woman named Chanty Lorette Nichols Pimentel said she feared being the “next Anibel” after being attacked by her partner with a knife. He received just three months of “preventative prison.”
“The helplessness in which thousands of women find themselves facing threats, harassment, violence and death is aggravated when the lack of protection and inadequacies of guarantees and mechanisms for the prevention of these crimes are revealed,” the organization Fundación Institucionalidad y Justicia (Foundation of Institutionality and Justice) said in a press release.
Amanda Alcántara is the Digital Media Editor at Futuro Media. She tweets from @YoSoy_Amanda.