In 2014, the Norwegian committee that awards the Nobel Peace Prize handed it over to a 17-year-old girl, Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani who two years earlier had been shot in the face by the Taliban for defending the right of girls to attend school, a condition denied by the Islamic fundamentalists who occupied her city. An extremist got on the school bus and asked, “Who is Malala?” Upon identification, the Taliban shot her in the head. Malala survived, received the support of great world characters and has continued her fight as an activist for girls' rights to education. Since 1901, when the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded for the first time, out of a total of 95 times it has been given only 17 times to women, which today is not surprising to anyone.
“Las Tesis”, four Chilean women from Valparaíso, of whom I don't know the biography, have made a gigantic contribution to the cause of women's civil rights by denouncing through a choreography, with music and a powerful message, one of the oldest crimes in the history of mankind, such as rape. Its impact is global, because States have been weak in legislating and condemning what has not always been considered a crime. As an example, last week in India, a woman was sprayed with gasoline on a train and burned alive by 5 men, when she was going to testify before the judge the “alleged” violation to which she had been subjected last December by two of the killers. The press indicates that 33 thousand women were raped in that country in 2017, of which 10,000 minors. Those are the official figures, denounced. We will never know the real figures, as happens all over the world and in our country. When the news transcended to the media, a group of women in the capital, New Delhi, adapted and improvised the choreography, music and lyrics of A Rapist in Your Path. The message has a universal force of denunciation and therefore it makes sense that today it is being replicated in many cities of the world, which will surely continue happening because it is an outcry of the soul that should shame all men.
And it wasn't my fault, where I was or how I dressed
History has been written by men, and wars and occupations have always made women booties and prizes for the victors. The power, that is to say the State, has not only been complicit but has rather stimulated and “normalized” rape, as has happened throughout the 20th century and continues to occur today in places of conflict and wars. The claims and compensations that Korea demands from Japan for the submission and abuse of the so-called “sex slaves” by the Japanese who invaded the country for 35 years, between 1910 and 1945, coining the motto of “the men as slaves, the women as whores”. The Japanese empire officially apologized through the Prime Minister to the last of the slaves abused who have survived, and financially compensated the dozen survivors, but refuses to raise a monument in memory of the thousands of women prostituted and raped. The Nazi invasion of the countries occupied by their troops and especially those of Eastern Europe in World War II could fill pages and pages of books of testimonials of raped girls and women. The same with the entry of the Soviet army to Berlin, or the submission of the Vietnamese women by US troops and the transformation of Saigon into a great brothel, are stories not fully told.
Surely, we don’t even have to look so far, and we can ask ourselves how the Chilean troops acted when they occupied Lima or read the testimonies of one hundred women raped by our uniformed during the Pinochet military dictatorship. Military convicted there are many serving sentences for their crimes, but how many for rape? How many suicides of raped young women who cannot stand the pain, humiliation and shame? What man can explain the feeling of a woman abused by one, two, five, 10 or more rapists throughout her life?
The rapist is you
The contribution of Las Tesis to the revindication of the women of their body, their right to dress as they wish and decide for themselves, is an educational message for society and for men. It has already been attempted to banalize A Rapist in Your Path in a macho way, obviously the most natural, changing the lyrics, or with burlesque imitations such as that made by a group of soccer players in Mexico and uploaded to social networks. We will continue to hear more and more testimonies from women who were abused in the past, who have lived with the secret and whom today the message of Las Tesis has helped them to make it public. We must promote the universal recognition of the message of these four women from Valparaíso through their nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize for their immense contribution to the rights and equality of women. Chilean institutions should send the application #LasTesisAlNobel to the Norwegian Nobel Committee before February 1, 2020, which will surely count on the transversal support of the world's women.