“¡Ni una menos, vivas nos queremos!” echoed loudly across Argentina on Friday as tens of thousands of women gathered to march in cities nationwide to mark the seventh anniversary of the first Ni Una Menos march in 2015.
“Not one less, we want ourselves alive!” was the ongoing chant, with demonstrators calling on the authorities to tackle the culture of femicide that permeates Argentina.
The country reported one femicide every 35 hours last year, with nearly 2,000 deaths related to gender violence since the first June 3 march some seven years ago, when tens of thousands of women took to streets to demand justice for the killing of pregnant 14-year-old Chiara Paéz, who was murdered by her 16-year-old boyfriend.
In Buenos Aires, protesters gathered at the intersection of Avenida 9 de Julio and Avenida de Mayo in the afternoon, representing an assortment of feminist, LGBTQ+, pro-abortion and other organisations. As the sun came down, the groups marched toward the National Congress building, lit up purple in solidarity with the feminist movement, singing and chanting as they prepared to hear from the figureheads of the Ni Una Menos movement.
“The president told us he put an end to the patriarchy, but they keep killing us women,” one group sang while banging on drums and waving flags. “We scream because we want to stop living in fear,” read a large banner hanging in front of the Congress.
Hours earlier, Familiares Víctimas de Femicidios — a group of family members of femicide victims — met in Plaza de Mayo to create a memorial for those killed. While working to glue the photos of 600 femicide victims to the memorial, journalist and organisation member Claudia Acuña elaborated on the work done by the group.
“We have an observatory — the only one that is online — with registers of femicides,” she told the Times. Observatorio Lucía Pérez has registers of femicides, transvesticides, rapes, disappearances, complaints of violence and more. “And all of our work we do with victims of violence,” she added.
Acuña emphasised that all efforts to tackle gender violence should involve the voices and experiences of victims and their families.
“The families are convinced that every femicide is inevitable, and they are not going to stop acting until the femicides stop. That is the truth," said the expert.
“Concrete action has to be taken, and today we have the resources... the only thing missing is the knowledge. And the knowledge is what the victims have,” she added, suggesting that victims’ families can serve as the missing link between feminist organisations and tangible change.
Earlier that morning, President Alberto Fernandez received the families of femicide victims, a first for the group. Acuña, however, explained that the families were only informed of the meeting the night before and that many were unable to make it. For some, the travel was too much, for others, taking time off work to travel and attend the meeting was not an option, and others missed the call because they did not have credit on their phones.
“They are killing the girls from the peripheries,” Acuña lamented. “Justice is expensive.”