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40 Years of Military Coup in Chile: 3.999 Women to Remember

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Today, 9/11 chileans remember, some with joy, another with sorrow, the 40th anniversary of the military coup that devastated the Chilean society and subdued the people under the political and social repression of the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, after a coup organized by the CIA and supported by the Chilean business and social elites.

I also turned 40 a few days ago. Among the organization of the celebration, my work and my responsibilities, a new story about those ugly 17 years has been unveiled. The voices that tell that story slip through the memory to request to be visible, heard, recognized.

3,399 is the number the history is calling us to remember. 3.399.... The number of Chilean Women who suffered sexual violence as a part of planned estrategy of submission designed by Pinochet's regime.

The military dictatorship imposed a social ideology which prioritized the family, which was instituted on the authoritarian role of men and patriarchal suppliers. This ideological representation was transferred to the public space with the representation of the authoritarian state as the 'pater familias'.

Thus, national security policy, coupled with gender ideology exacerbated during the dictatorship, re-presented in the speech the wife, Holy Mary model and "Good Wife" competitions that didn't match with the image of a subversive woman, seen as opposed to her "intrinsic nature" and to the true values ​​of the social role of women as well.

For this, and as part of a need for compliance and control, it was necessary to define a clear and specific gender policy that, at least, neutralize women, subject them and make clear what was expected of them and the punishments they risked if they did not conform to the establishment.

Thus, the military regime materialized defining a specific gender policy towards women during the dictatorship, which was expressed in the most crude and brutal sexual torture, constituting it as part of an entire discipline device for achieving the social objectives of the new ideological and material political-military social order.

This type of torture was intended to impose a traditional patriarchal social order, to discipline women materially and symbolically. Sexual violence directed against women by state agents as part of a systematic policy of repression, wants to print in the body and sexuality of women a brand, a term of annihilation

Many of them were raped in front of their husbands and children, by soldiers or trained dogs. Rats and electrical shock were introduced into their vaginas.

Chilean Women, like all women, sacrificial lambs of Patriarchy: Objectified and devalued generically, are abused, assaulted, raped and murdered by men as a way to defeat another group of men.

In 2005 , the Commission on Political Imprisonment and Torture certified more than 28,000 cases of torture during the military regime, and has received thousands of testimonials of missing executed and imprisonment and torture victims that they should study now.

Many of these women are still missing. Some were never able to rebuild their lives and more than one, unable to bear the moral and physical humiliation, committed suicide.

Political understanding of gender-based violence against women during the military dictatorship has given the State's obligation to stop the impunity with which these crimes occurred, and forced it to promote cultural and legal changes, expressed in public policies to ensure respect for rights, to the integrity and life of women in any context or social and political situation.

But 40 years later, the story still owes them an explanation. The Chilean government still owes them recognition. There is not a single judicial process that reveals the true dimension of this type of aggression.

They don't want compassion, they don't want pity .. Only justice

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Y's picture

We Will Not Use Our Wombs to Fill More Tombs

I have been having discussions about responsible sexuality since I became sixteen years old and my future mother-in-law (a registered nurse) sent me to a gynecologist to put me on birth control pills. She knew that I planned to marry her adult, employed son as soon as I graduated from high school, and she wanted to make sure that my graduation took place before I became pregnant. Sadly, she died before we produced her first grandchild, but I am eternally grateful for her wise action.

In my religious school and family upbringing, the only thing we were told repeatedly is that sex without marriage was a sin. There was no attention paid to the fact that marriage is not a magic spell that produces resources for childcare. In many marriages, the spouses are simply encouraged to remain children as they produce more children. This may have worked well in farm families who saw their children as extra field hands and household help, but it is past time that we rethink the purposes of human sexuality.

We have been taught that our own immortality is based on procreation, and with high mother and child mortality, we are afraid of not passing on our own genetics. We aren’t taught to stop and think about the welfare of our children, even when we know that our genetics may be passing on deadly and debilitating diseases. We also aren’t taught to pay attention to the types of parenting partnerships we are forming. Two people without the resources to take care of themselves don’t magically become productive in human society because they have produced offspring.

The animal instinct to reproduce is built into us, but we are taught that humans can channel and control our animal instincts. In our technological societies, there is less need for human manual labor, but we continue to produce children who will be disrespected as slaves or sent into battle to win territory and other resources for the most vicious animals in human forms. Better maternal and infant healthcare has made it possible to hope that all of one’s offspring will survive into adulthood, so there is less need to fear loss of our children.

There is less manual labor to do and more people than are necessary to do it. Whenever there is a surplus of anything, including humans, the value of each “unit” goes down. Why do we continue allowing despotic leaders to convince us that the only value for a virtuous woman is in accepting their seed and those of their minions and ministering to them and their progeny? Our brains, not only our bodies, are meant to be fruitful, share, and multiply our sacred energy, with or without union with a man.

I know that our fertile bodies cry out for procreation, but there is a difference between motherhood in an animal sense and human nurture. What other animal takes over 18 years to train their offspring for their individual survival? This is a commitment that takes, not only a mother, but also responsible, committed parenting partners within a greater committed community.

How is it that we don’t see unwanted, unplanned children as the victims in our irresponsible procreative habits? There are ways to stop this desecration of full humanity with the advent of better and more effective, temporary forms of conception control. Several of these methods are now virtually undetectable, in that they are injected. Some of them prevent pregnancy for several years at a time. Some are even effective after unplanned sex and simply prevent the fertilization of the egg to occur.

Rape is simply another way to dis-empower a female. The rape does not have to destroy a woman, but the results will always be permanent if the girl or woman is impregnated. In areas where rape is endemic, implants could be used to protect the girls and women until they are ready to support themselves and make their own informed choices. At the very least, morning after pills should be freely distributed to the girls and women in the areas.

I am not advocating that we women stop having sex in our responsible, committed relationships. I believe that responsible, compassionate sexuality is an avenue to peace between people and an avenue for couples to increase their sacred energy to a point that they simply must share this energy with others.

I am imploring all women, for the sake of responsible compassion for all innocent children, all over the earth, to empower ourselves with ways to support ourselves and realize our full human potential, other than as wombs and nursemaids, before we bring babies into the world to become slaves and soldiers for those who despise them.

Toni Morrison wrote a powerful book, Beloved, about the dilemma a slave mother faced upon learning she was pregnant and the terrible decision she made to “protect” her child. I weep simply thinking about her solution, but I understand, as a mother, why she chose to take her own child’s life rather than be forced to bear witness to her child being treated as less than a fully human being. We now have better solutions in the form of conception control.

We will not use our wombs to fill more tombs.

Yvette

Wendyiscalm's picture

WHAT CAN I SAY

Hi Nasreen,

Gosh, when I started reading about 9/11, I thought this was great that you were celebrating the survival on that date of your people as we were our people during the terrorist attack on that day in America. As I read on I was horrified - beyond horrified really - about what you strong wonderful Chilean women have endured and overcome. WHAT were the dogs trained to do? I hope it is not what I think it is.

There is much work to be done. Your article is very well written and chronicles how amazing you women are. I don't even know what to say.

Thank you for your passionate chronicle.

Ubuntu (I am who I am because of who we are together),

Wendy

Wendy Stebbins
Founder/CEO
I AM ONE IN A MILLION Non-Profit Organization focused on helping street orphans and vulnerable children in Livingstone, Zambia Africa.

pelamutunzi's picture

remembering our sisters

Your article presents the true case of many women when there is a war or civil disturbance. For too long women have been taken as assets by men which is why they can fight their battles by using women. Women are not taken as humanbeings on their own which means that since they are property the men destroy to show off or to insult their enemies. Talk about gambling with another human being’s dignity. Women are people first and foremost and all crimes against them should be castigated so that they receive justice. As mothers let us teach our sons respect and llove for women. I shudder to think about the trained dogs and rats. Justice is what we want for these women. We remember the 3.999 women along with fellow Chilean sisters. We wil not keep queit amymore our time to speak is now and speak we will.

Happy birthday to you. You have just been born they say life begins at 40. Keep the light shining. Thank you for sharing lest these 3.999 women be forgotten and atrocities like this continue.

we may be powerless to stop an injustice but let there never be a time we fail to protest.
regards
pela

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