The revolution will be feminist or it will not be! / La revolución será feminista o no será!
By Black Rose/Rosa Negra Social Media Team
The Chilean feminist anthem “Un Violador En Tu Camino” (A Rapist in Your Way) has spread across Latin America and the globe, including the U.S. Below we present three personal accounts of performances in U.S. cities by members of Black Rose/Rosa Negra.
The street performance emerged out of the recent popular rebellion underway in Chile and was started by the feminist art collective Las Tesis to highlight gender-based violence. The performance involves a choreographed dance done by women in a public space such as a plaza, usually wearing a black mask and often the green bandannas of the abortion rights movement in Latin America. The title of the song is a play on the slogan “Un amigo en tu camino / A friend in your way,” a slogan used in the 1990s by the hated carabineros (the “public order” police) of Chile.
The defiant song has inspired women world-wide because it not only brings attention to rape, femicide and violence against women but also calls out the state infrastructures that are complicit in this violence and larger patriarchical oppression. One memorable line calls it out directly: “It’s the cops, the judges, the state, the president.”
See the lyrics in English and Spanish below.
I took part in the street performance in Miami for “Un Violador en Tu Camino” on December 8th at the Torch of Friendship in Miami. It was nice to see so many women from different countries of origin, different ages and different walks of life come together and talk about the gendered violence that women face and the complicity of the police, government and judicial system in this violence.
We were asked to write the names of women that were victims of femicide in Latin America to remember their memory. I chose to put Leidy Maura Pacheco Mur from Ceinfuegos, Cuba, who was raped and murdered in 2017. Cuba has historically hidden femicide rates so as not to jeopardize the credibility of its political system. Only in 2019 has the government become open to discussing this issue publicly by releasing its first data on femicides in Cuba.
And in the US, we haven’t even adopted a standardized definition for the term, as in some Latin American countries. #YoSíteCreoCuba #NiUnaMenos
There’s a group in LA that formed last month during the uprising in Chile called Movilizados en LA. Once the dance became viral they quickly organized a call for women and supporters to take part in the Un Violador en tu Camino dance.
I was having major activist and feminist FOMO after not only seeing the intial video in Chile but worldwide and at how amazing it was that women came together to take a stance against gendered violence. It’s unfortunate that gendered violence is a worldwide problem but this dance has awoken something, a universal thread of shared experiences and understanding that femicide and patriarchal violence are to be destroyed.
I had arrived early and seeing no one was there and I got food. Ten minutes later I turned the corner and a crowd had already sprouted. At that moment there wasn’t beef among different tendencies, or pettiness, but a shared understanding and determination to get the dance down. We rehearsed while people began to surround us on the sidelines. All around me were women of all walks of life dressed in black and sporting purple, green and black bandanas. After a couple of tries it was a truly amazing experience to dance in unison with folks who literally just rehearsed for an hour and shouted like they’ve been singing this song for their whole lives. I felt part of something important, something that’s more than some viral video but something that represents the need for militant feminism everywhere.
The police, the courts, the state and the president have all contributed to the humiliation and proliferation of patriarchy and femicide. It breaks my heart that femicide isn’t even recognized in the US but it makes me proud that we sang and danced to not only condem gendered violence internationally but in the US too. “El estado opresor es un macho violador!”
I attended the Chicago performance of “Un Violador en Tu Camino” on Saturday, Dec 7 at 11 AM in Millenium Park. Walking into the space it was great to see so many smiling and excited faces. The event was put together by the Solidaridad Chile-Chicago and that made it particularly impactful as someone who spent time in Chile over the summer.
The familiar feminist energy is clear, intentional and delivered in Spanish. I arrived on time and participated in a couple of trial runs eventually receiving a black lace cloth for use as a makeshift blindfold. It was an ocean of red lipstick and green bandanas wrapped around left wrists “recuerden todo con la mano izquierda, al menos que sean de la derecha” (“remember everything with your left hand, unless you are on the right”).
We performed it twice in Spanish. The second time being much more in tune than the first. Every line grew louder and more confident as it seemed we all build each other up to change the words. A black women security guard let us know that we could not stay there for long or use the speakers which were playing the background beat.
We walked to the other side of the location with scattered chants as we passed ice skating families and onlooking tourists. Once there, we performed the song a couple of more times in English and Spanish before having to leave due to the cold (around 30°F and windy). There were chants in between the performances and we were encouraged to hug our neighbor and attend the Chile report back meeting that following Thursday.
Un violador en tu camino
English translation below
El patriarcado es un juez
que nos juzga por nacer,
y nuestro castigo
es la violencia que no ves.
Impunidad para mi asesino.
Es la desaparición.
Es la violación.
Y la culpa no era mía, ni dónde estaba ni cómo vestía. (x4)
El violador eras tú,
El violador eres tú.
Son los pacos*/policia,
El Estado opresor es un macho violador (x4)
El violador eras tú. (x2)
Duerme tranquila, niña inocente
sin preocuparte del bandolero,
que por tu sueño dulce y sonriente
vela tu amante carabinero.
El violador eres tú. (x4)
*pacos, término chilena para la policía
“A Rapist in Your Path”
Patriarchy is a judge
that judges us for being born,
is the violence you don’t see.
Impunity for my killer.
And it’s not my fault, nor where I was, nor what I wore. (x4)
The rapist was you
The rapist is you.
The oppressive state is a rapist man. (x4)
The rapist was you
The rapist is you.
Sleep tight, innocent girl
don’t worry about the criminal,
your policeman lover is taking care
of your sweet dreams.
The rapist is you. (x4)
For more on Latin American feminism we recommend Feminism is Everywhere: Building a Multisectoral, Transversal Movement in Chile or the podcast episode From Below: Feminism Against Capitalism. For more general readings on feminism we recommend our Feminist Readings and Resources page.