Woke – Part One – A Biomythography by DXS
“The Rapist is You”: A performance at Amelia Wilkes Park, Cabo San Lucas
The diverse group of women sat down at the rustic table made from colourfully-painted broken-down crates. They really didn’t know what it was they wanted, but they knew they had something to say. Jenny was the ringleader. She had a dynamism that they all clung to. Unfortunately she was perennially late. So the women, as they waited, started chatting about their days.
Dina, with her perennial smile and sharp wit, was a mother of two. She was, like all of them, from somewhere else. She had a radical voice and was a good writer, though her work was largely unedited. It’s a wonder she got to write at all between hauling her kids to school, and after-school classes, working full-time to support them, and supporting several of her wayward friends’ who were trying to change the world. The so-called loving father of their children had conveniently forgotten his responsibilities, leaving her to find help where help was available and somehow maintain a semblance of self. She was going to have to leave before Jenny arrived. It was inevitable.
Candace started talking about the political scene. How it was still dominated by men, but this time by the AMLO party, to which she may have voted for, but felt distinctly like she was attending a party that she was always having to be re-invited to. Candace’s sympathy, prior to her appointment had always been for the underdog. One of the coolest heads, it is no doubt why the current municipality had trusted her. Whether or not she could commit to this action would remain to be seen as Candace could not participate in anti-government rallies. A local working for the left-wing government, she could do some liberal work behind the scenes, but was limited by local agendas.
Sandy, older than the rest, and much more cynical, listened to the garbled gossip not really wanting to participate. She wanted to get on with the planning. This town was seeped in yesteryear where women were low-paid slaves. As another outsider she could see how the familial loyalty played its role in this society. In relation to a sisterhood, in subterfuge, they tried to combat patriarchy, but from her perspective, at least in this town, the women were the bastions of the tourist industry, which is reliant on a healthy worker class, and made up of women who worked both in and outside the homes. The men, whose shirts were freshly-laundered by their wives, claim the whiter-collared work, were fed, clothed and housed by the women, either spouses or with their services, who take care of it all. Sometimes Sandy just crawled onto a solitary beach and communed with nonhumans combatting the paralysis cynicism and hopelessness that encompassed her. Still she was at this meeting, hoping something would happen.
Jenny, beautiful and in a hurry, arrived just in time to hear Dina’s parting promises to be there. Sandy thought to herself, sure if Dina can find childcare, knowing just trying to form a women’s movement where childcare is also organized was too much to hope for in this podunk town. A natural public speaker, she entered giving personal greetings to the women who were there. She laid it out. We were going to join the Chilean protest of violence against women’s movement, Un Violador en Tu Camino.
The performance piece was created by the Valparaíso feminist collective called LasTesis. The translation has been: “The Rapist in Your Path”, as well as “The Rapist Is You”, and was performed for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November 2019. Shared videos of this performance went viral and inspired women to voice the same message around the world. Clearly it struck a chord.
Jenny proclaimed we were going to do it. There was going to be a rehearsal and it was being initiated by women as young as thirteen and fourteen. The first separatist feminist movement to spark interest in these chronically cell-phone engaged people. A happening that was using social media and performance to give voice to the continued systemic globalization of violence against women. For the women who had been straining to find that common ground that would create change, it was an opportunity to open the conversation of what is really happening in this tourist town. The excitement was encouraging. Dates were planned to get together and create the costumes while practicing the performance.
The rapist is you, is directed at men in positions of power including, and in some places, especially politics and police. There was talk of a march, but to get a permit, Candace assured, they would need police and the police are targeted by the performance. This made the women nervous. Speak out yes. Get arrested or injured, not-so-much. After all most had dependents and this seaside town, though growing in tourist numbers, remains a very small-minded town. The police are, and have played a continuing role in everyday corruption and abuse. They could not be counted on to play a friendly role to combat violence against women. They might be counted on to incite it.
The performance, as can be witnessed by the global feminist wave of response, inspired a tsunami of power and was not put off. Mañana being the normal apathetic political response in this town, it quickly came to be the actual day of the action, the day local women’s voices of all ages, joined in the global performance piece and with all their heart and soul, danced and cried, “THE RAPIST IS YOU!”
The resonance was in the action. It was in the identification, a recognition of the continued silence around issues of abuse in our town among our teenagers. Their voices crying out. Second wave feminists joining this new wave in the cry questioning, “Why is this still happening today?”
Little sparks of passion grew and grew as the silent on-the-spot rehearsals started. Waiters from across the street were gawking and mocking. The rapist is you. The women’s voices grew and grew. They shared the common rage against the rapists and abusers in this town. The broken wings of girls on the mend. Their voices awakened from buried within. In my town it is happening. They is woke.
Woke – Part Two – A Biomythography
M8 – 2020 – San José del Cabo
“Woman, sister, if they hit you, they don’t love you.”
“Mujer, hermana, si te pega no te ama.”
Fed up, they showed up. Women of all ages, and socioeconomic placement. They are woke and they are stoked. Women through blatant and systemic misogynist acts have been killed, abused, raped and sold and the government, and its advocates have turned a blind eye, because they are involved.
Women joined forces. From a view from above in Mexico City, they looked like Jacaranda trees. 80,000 women dressed in purple showed up to say they are fed up. They are Jacarandas, beautiful and strong, and living in one of the most unsafe places for women in the world.
Women rallied around the sad stories of Ingrid Escamilla, 25, who was killed, skinned and disemboweled, and of Fátima Cecilia Aldrighetti, 7, whose body was found wrapped in a plastic bag. Fatima’s story shook the feminist foundation of a nation that has been trying to break free of patriarchal corruption and denigration for the last century.
Fatima was picked up by her mother’s friend, Gladis Giovana Cruz, at school, and never seen again. The “friend” had abducted her to give to her boyfriend, Mario Alberto Reyes Nájera, so that he would not rape her own children.
This should never be allowed to happen again. They are not isolated incidents. Women were not silent about it, nor were they silent about the justice they seek for this pedophile and the systems that continue to protect people like him.
The very first well-attended Women’s Day March in San José del Cabo, also reflected this anger. Women had been trying. The rapist is Mario Alberto. The Chilean “The Rapist is You” performance is tolling a feminist bell, awakening a need to speak up and out about what has been happening here, in our town. We all have our unshared stories. “Yo si te creo, I believe you,” was the response to women young and old who shared their personal stories where women are abused and disbelieved, living in a culture where machismo is entrenched in all different walks of life.
A mother of two, there to protect her daughters, called for castration of rapists. A mother of an activist, cried out in support for her daughters’ voices, because she has seen it all. A teenager shared her story of rape and abuse, not by one but three men. It was a sharing of atrocities, stories of women long kept silent, now public.
The tears were of sadness and joy. The tears were uncontrollable as were the smiles, the hugs and the incredible strength found in taking over a public space. In shouting to each other, “You are not alone.” Shouting, “We are your banda. Your gang, woman, sister, if they hit you, they don’t love you.” “Mujer, hermana, si te pega no te ama.”
First-worlders may have marched this march before, but here it has just begun and it is taking off like a wildfire. Mexican women are not alone. They are the UNtraditional heads of families, organizers, teachers, leaders and fighters. All of Latin America is taking up the call, following the lead of a small banda of Chilean women, who led them on the road to woke.
Sobre la autora: En 2014, Dawn X. Spectre publicó The Galloping Horse, en 2015 Oven Honey colecciones de sus creaciones de poesía, escritos con su máquina de escribir. Está trabajando en su tercero. Ella ha sido mencionado en el LA Times y recibió mención honorífica del Concurso de Poesía: Juegos Florales Margarito Sandez Villarino 2013. Nació en Canadá, mexicana naturalizada, feminista desde que nació, estudió Women’s Studies y filosofía en Queen’s University, tiempo parcial mientras fungía como la única cantinera en el único bar gay de Kingston, Ontario, a principios de los 90’s. Reside permanente en San José del Cabo, BCS, donde es poetisa, y la poeta de la máquina de escribir, también redacta para revistas freelance, y es maestra de inglés. Inspirado por poner en papel estas biomythographies por el curso de Marisabel, “Narrativas eróticas y reflexión feminista 2020”.
Ilustración de: África Abril