I wonder if another woman will have been murdered by the time this text is published. Other. Other woman. Murdered. Another woman killed. We have become accustomed to this phrase like the tinkle of rain. We receive the news of sexist murders like the information about weather catastrophes: saying that it is horrible and thinking that it is inevitable. Other. Lament. Other woman. Enough. They go I don’t know how many -we say- as if a life could fit into an excel cell, as if such damage could fit into a tweet. The murders due to sexist violence are the deaths that socially it does seem that we can assume, with which we can live. The murdered women are the names we can forget, the lives we accumulate in numbers. Terrible, but there.
Feminism has been explaining for decades that the origin of sexist violence is the inequality of women. We repeat this idea so much that tiredness already makes me doubt, will what we say be understood? The-origin-of-sexist-violence-is-the-inequality-of-women. That means the movies we watch, the songs we listen to, the stories we’re told matter. It means that language, if it is sexist, creates an unequal social imaginary. That women need economic and emotional autonomy to be free and equal. It means that if we women build ourselves as beings for others where love and pleasure is what validates us (being the mother, the daughter, the lover or the wife), then we place ourselves in a plane of dependency, we place ourselves in a trap.
The best way to prevent sexist violence is to guarantee women a life of equality. Sexist murders are the most painful part of gender violence because of the damage they cause and because we can no longer do anything for that life. It is the most terrible part but it is only the tip of an iceberg. If we disassociate the murders from all the previous process that women suffer, we will always be late. If we want to stop counting murdered women, we have to be outraged at the isolation, contempt, gaslighting and silence suffered by women. Alert us against the control of clothing, passwords, diet and the last online connection. And also in the face of everything that places women as second-class citizens. Sexist murders are not cases or events: they are a manifestation of the structure of violence that all women suffer. If we break the thread that links a sexist murder with women’s equality, we destroy the route we have to take to prevent sexist violence. The shoes we need to walk that path are equality policies.
Equality policies are the instrument to achieve a safe and free life for women. However, we observe a questioning of feminism and equality policies that is breaking consensus and generating a breeding ground that facilitates the proliferation of discourses that question equality between women and men. It is especially worrying to see the Popular Party, following Vox’s flute, spreading hoaxes about the financing of equality policies, ridiculing the contribution of these policies to the well-being of citizens or questioning the very concept of gender violence.
In a democracy, it is not admissible to question equality policies because the setbacks in equality and in the fight against gender violence are counted -literally- in women’s lives. Nestled in the ridicule, contempt and ridicule of equality policies is the strategy of the extreme right to reduce the impact of equality policies and promote conservative family models that place women in subordinate positions. Vox’s goal is to normalize what is inadmissible in a democracy: inequality and violence against women.
Every advance in women’s rights is followed by a patriarchal reaction, like a wave with its undertow, and right now we are suffering the patriarchal reaction to the strike of March 8, 2018 and putting it at the center of the political and media agenda the rape of The Pack. The questioning of feminism and equality policies is the price we are paying. Nothing has been given to us women.
Women who will be living with batterers ten years from now may not know them yet. Investing in policies of equality and prevention of sexist violence means that today, now, we have time to avoid those encounters with abusers and those lives under sexist violence: either because equality policies would make it easier for women to be more protected against sexist violence or else, and this is the most desirable, because men have more egalitarian and less violent attitudes. Sexist violence can be prevented, it is not a meteorological phenomenon. That possibility is the hope of feminism, the desire not to write another murdered woman.