Trigger Warning: This post deals with violence towards women, violence towards humans, and egregious abuses of power.
Women, Life, Freedom; Zan, Zendegī, Āzādī; زن زندگی آزادی has become one of the main slogans for an incredibly important and crucial global protest that is taking place right now. For over 2 months, life and death protests are taking place in Iran. The protests are focusing on the perpetual degradation of human rights with women bearing a large brunt. Many have declared the current state affairs as gender apartheid. We need to be talking more about what is happening with the people of Iran and how best to support them. The protests were started after the brutal murder of a woman due to a portion of her hair being visible outside of her hijab.
*Trigger Warning – Reference and description of distressing violence against women at the hands of police*
Alison Melendez was 17 when she was sexually abused last week by a group of Colombian policemen. She was captured for allegedly being part of the protest groups in Popayán, a city in the south of my country Colombia, South America. The next day Alison was found dead. The official version states that she committed suicide. In the social networks, there is a video of four policemen carrying Alison to the detention center, each holding one of her extremities. One can hear Alison screaming, “Four were necessary to carry me? Four against one woman? Cowards!” The next day – before she was found dead – she posted on Instagram that she was not part of the protests that night. She was walking to a friend’s house when the police showed up. She started recording their actions, they saw her and went mad, so they captured her. When she resisted, four of them took her to the police station. In the post, Alison mentions how they groped her to the soul.” In the video, one can see how her pants came off while they were carrying her, and the policemen did not care. They just kept walking. The last time we see Alison in the video is inside the station. Then cameras were turned off.
*End Trigger Warning*
Alison is one of the 18 cases of sexual violence reported during the protests that started last April 28 in different cities of Colombia. In addition, there are 87 reports of violence and abusive behavior against women protesting. Alison’s case has been more visible, but it is easy to find several videos of police officers beating, harassing, and capturing women in the protests on social media. We have been witnessing this terrible violence full of indignation and impotence, despite protesting is our legitimate right as citizens.