‘A rapist in your path’ – performanceinitiated in Chile repeated in 200 cities worldwide

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FromSantiago to Nairobi, Tijuana and Stockholm, women in more than 200 citiesworldwide have acted out a Chilean feminist performance, protesting sexualassault, victim-blaming and state violence. Created by the LasTesis feministcollective in Valparaiso, “A rapist in your path” has now beenperformed in more than 40 countries on every continent (except Antarctica). Uruguayan feminist, Isaura Fabra, who mapped thephenomenon, said it spread very quickly, involving thousands of women.It is an indictment of the perpetuation of rape culture by the state andsociety.

The title”A rapist in your path” alludes to “A friend in your path”,the official slogan of the Chilean Carabineros police force in the 1980s and90s, and the lyrics and choreography both include specific references to them. Stateforces used sexual violence as a component of torture of political dissidentsduring the 1973-1990 military dictatorship, and allegations of sexual violenceby Carabineros and other forces have recently become the subject of renewedattention.

Nationwidemass protests against structural inequality broke out inChilejustover two months ago. The National Human Rights Institute has documented 194cases of sexual violence by authorities in the context of protests anddetentions, and has filed 117 legal motions against authorities for sexualviolence, including four cases of rape.

But women do not need to know the Chilean context for the performance to resonate, said Fabra. The power of “A rapist in your path” is its universality and adaptability. Women in many countries have tweaked the lyrics to reference local cases and conditions.

“Inevery place, the patriarchy presents itself a little differently. But the issueof rape is fundamental,” she said.


SOURCE: Al Jazeera, by Sandra Cuffe, 20 December 2019 ; TOP PHOTO (CHILE): Pablo Sanhueza/Reuters ; PHOTO TURKEY: Yasin Akgul/AFP