Fort Lewis College students, faculty and staff gathered Wednesday near the campus clock tower to sing “Un Violador en tu Camino,” or “A Rapist in Your Path,” and participate in a global movement protesting violence against women.
“I think it’s a really important worldwide movement to talk about rapists, to talk about who is at fault, to talk about how to solve the problem,” said Shirena Trujillo Long, coordinator for El Centro de Muchos Colores Hispano Resource Center at FLC. “... Localizing a worldwide global issue is how people will remember it.”
The global movement started in Chile when a group of women performed the song and dance in front of the national palace on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women in late November, said Janine Fitzgerald, a professor of sociology, who organized the FLC event.
The performance in Chile went viral, and since then, the song has been performed around the world, including in Mexico, Colombia, France, Spain, Turkey and American cities, such as Los Angeles, Miami and Philadelphia.
The FLC performance drew about 40 people, including students from Fitzgerald’s classes.
“I think it’s important to show up and support other women, and I think it’s always important to be part of a movement that’s bigger than yourself,” said Ellie Bon, a sociology sophomore who attended.
The song featured in recent protests calls out law enforcement officers, judges, the state and the president for being complicit in violence against women. It also says violence can’t be blamed on where a victim was or how she was dressed.
“It actually is putting the fault where it needs to be placed. ... It’s taking the power back and putting it in the females’ hands,” Trujillo Long said.
In Latin American and Caribbean countries, at least 3,529 women in 2018 were killed for gender-based reasons, according to the Gender Equality Observatory for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Violence against women in the U.S. is also a problem and is particularly pronounced among Native American women. The Indian Law Resource Center reports more than four in five Native American and Alaska Native women have experienced violence.
Fitzgerald said she would like to see violence against women addressed through structural change. For example, Fitzgerald and Trujillo Long said they would like to see undocumented women protected from deportation if they come forward to report violence.