A Safe City for Women

An article in the Christian Science Monitor's Global News Blog highlights efforts to make Suchitoto a city where violence against women is rare:

SUCHITOTO, EL SALVADOR – Time seems to have stood still in the colonial town of Suchitoto, about 30 miles from El Salvador’s frenetic capital, with its quiet cobblestone streets and perfectly preserved architecture. But now its white-washed walls are adorned with a 21st-century message: “In this house we want a life without violence toward women.”

The words, which are accompanied by a bird and flower, the symbol of Suchitoto, forms part of a campaign by the Feminist Collective for Local Development to “elevate societal rejection of domestic violence, and make it a subject we should all be worried about,” says local feminist activist Morena Herrera.

It seems to have worked: The overall impression, reading the message on home after home – where women sweep their front porches and men gather in rocking chairs to talk on lazy afternoons – is one of camaraderie around an issue that is often overlooked in macho cultures in Latin America. In El Salvador, which contends with skyrocketing crime rates from street gangs, violence against women is even less prioritized, says Ms. Herrera.

The program in Suchitoto is supported by the United Nations Development Fund for Women. According to a fact sheet for the program, which is titled "Cities Without Violence Against Women, Safe Cities For All," the goal of the program is:
To contribute to the reduction of public and private forms of violence inflicted upon women in cities through the strengthening of active citizenship in the exercise of their rights and the development of a public and social agenda that generates conditions for a shared coexistence in freedom.
The program is in several countries in Latin America. Its website is located here.


Anonymous said…
Tim, in my opinion Salvadorian men need to understand that if they need to show off how manly they are, then they need to start behaving like real man.

Real man don't beat up a women regardless of what they might have done. The same goes for women as well, but because men out number the women who engage in such shameful act: my massage is directed mostly at man. I was raised in such hostile environment. I saw my dad beating up my mom numerous times, and once I got old enough I got tired of seeing such abusive behavior and showed my dad how it must truly feel for women to go through such ordeal. He learned his lesson real good after I beat the crap out of him. To all you sons and daughters beating up women in anyway is an act of insecurity in most man. They beat up women to make themselves feel sure about their manhood. Rather confronting a man their own size, they rather pray on the weak, such as women or children. I have never in my life laid a finger on my wife and never have any intention of doing it so. So please understand that any man who beats up his wife is nothing more than a repressed fag whom seems to get a thrill out of praying on the weak. Salvadorian men, I tell you this as a brother to a brother stop making yourself look like an insecure fag and stop beating up our beautiful Salvadorian women. Women value yourself worth. Any man that treats you with such act is not worth of your time. Don't waste time with a looser of the kind. There are a lot of nice decent guys out there, you just have to keep looking and don't give in to the first offer you get. I know it is an unconventional thing to say, despite how well preserved our parents have taught us to be, but don't forget this is your life and not your mother's or father's, so live it up because you only have one life to live. Be free and don't let such abuses take hold on you. You can be anything you want out of life. Our country is in bad shape not because we do not have the resources, but because of the way we carry ourselves in society. We need to start thinking for ourselves. Yes we man can be macho and all, but in the end, you are the ones that give life to our country. Feel what it truly means to be SALVADORIAN. Be proud of who you are. We can shout I am proud to be a "SALVADORIAN", but we need to show the rest of the world that we are worthy of their attention as well. We have a mentality to make things happen just like any other great culture out there, but first we need to get rid of our bad habits.