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2013 VOF Week 1

In my homeland, El Salvador, it is a crime for a woman to have an abortion, under ANY circumstance; whether she was raped, or if her life is in danger because of the pregnancy. Forensic vagina inspectors are hired by the government prosecutors to examine women who have been accused of having an abortion. One of two women will have survived intimate partner violence in their lifetime, and there is only one government subsidized shelter in the entire country. I could go on about the injustices that girls and women suffer in my country, but I would like to focus rather on what can be done about them. I think Web 2.0 and the tools described in the articles can be utilized to create effective strategies to counteract these problems faced by women.

It is not just about public education and raising awareness-it is about changing culture. El Salvador has a long history of patriarchy and male privilege. There have been push and pull factors, such as migration, that have slowly begun to create some shifts in culture, but it is not enough. I believe that Web 2.0 comes at an important juncture in our history as the Salvadoran government recently approved voting rights for Salvadorans living in the diaspora. It will be through web-based platforms that substantial amount of information will be processed. Many Salvadorans will form opinions and make decisions, some at the polling booth, based on what they read online. The potential for changing culture is exponentially greater if women learn how to use Web 2.0 and other tools to advocate and create change.

For me, these tools are empowering because they will allow me to reach a greater audience. Being bilingual has its benefits and by using Web 2.0 I can reach a wider audience, and not just in El Salvador, but throughout Central America as women in neighboring countries face the same challenges as we do. It will also allow me to create interactive exchanges whereby other women who are in the trenches can find a platform to have their voice heard. It will also help me connect with the youth of the region, especially since half the populations of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala are under age 18, and most are comfortable with navigating the web. By reaching youth we will also enlist boys and young men to create culture change.

Comments

Sharontina's picture

Sad

So sad to hear about the status of women there. And we are here to share more stories depicting the even more worst condition elsewhere. However women are the prey everywhere.

You have raised our voice powerfully now. My appreciations dear. Lets continue to keep that going.

Love.

Merlin Sharontina

Iryna's picture

Woman's right

Susan, you wrote about so strong things. I'm from Ukraine and my country has the opposite tendency - is European leader of abortions. Women come to Ukraine to make an abortion, because is legal and not expensive. Couple days ago a draft of the law was registered about ban abortions in Ukraine. In the USSR times we had this experiment, in 1936-1955. The results were obvious, highly increased mortal cases because of artificial abortions and those which were made illegal and in not safe conditions. Is very strong this issues and is obvious that we need to change the situation in global, international level!

J écoute's picture

Thank you for sharing your

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and voicing the plight of women in your part of the world. I also appreciate you bringing up male privilege and culture and how we also need everyone to be advocates for change!

J écoute

smk's picture

Voting in diaspora

It is interesting one of the things I learned from your post, that Salvadoren@s in diaspora will have the right to vote. Definitely there will be a role for Web 2.0, it is so important that you and other women are part of it! In solidarity.

susanncruz's picture

Thank you!

Thank you all for your comments.
Iryna, I think that any extreme, no access to abortions or too many abortions, is not where we as women want to be. I think that just like any other health service, it should be safe and accessible, and it should not be treated any differently than any other surgical procedure. Thank you for sharing.

Susan Cruz

Kate Hartley's picture

Sobering News

Oh Susan...when I read your article I am again reminded of how essential a platform like Web.2 is in the world. Your news is staggering. Reproductive rights are a critical issue facing all women of the world and a subject that I believe in very deeply.
I am grateful for your strong, clear, empowered and informed voice...thank you. You support your passionate voice with sobering and necessary details: "One of two women will have survived intimate partner violence in their lifetime". Not to mention the lack of shelter facilities and the fact that a "forensic vagina inspector" even exists.
I applaud your courage and strength...I look forward to hearing more of what you have to say.
Thank you for being a part of this program and for the work you are already doing.

Wishing you the very best,
Kate

Kate Hartley
"Let Your Life Speak"
www.fullcirclestudio.biz

Susan-
I, too, was oblivious to the 'vagina inspectors'. What a horrifying encroachment on a woman's body! I truly, truly liked your line about focusing on the solutions rather than the problems. In addition, I loved the thought that we can bring boys and young men along side us. Your writing drew me in, engaged me, and left me feeling hopeful, despite the sad and unfortunate state of things.

How would you go about creating change in your country for access to women's health? Do you have a vision for it?I am looking forward to reading more from you, and hearing more about El Salvador, too! All the best to you!

Let us Hope together-
Michelle
aka: Cali gal

Listener
Sister-Mentor
@CaliGalMichelle
facebook.com/caligalmichelle

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