Ingredients: two pounds of discrimination, four ounces of inequality, a handful of verbal abuse, and three teaspoons of unwanted compliments. We are having a worldwide specialty that has been served in cold plates throughout history. You can use any protein you want; your wife, niece, sister, even your daughter. Choose from any woman in the streets and serve yourself a wonderful dinner. Tonight's main course: Female Violence with Patriarchy for dessert.
A well known saying states that we are what we eat, too many repetitions of the same words, although wise, become mundane and monochrome. But this adage has renewed itself and has more relevance now than ever. However, humans are not just what they eat; they are what they hear, smell, touch, and believe. In a few words: we are what we consume. Humanity has become an expert in serving meals with perennial cooking times, more like beating times. With ingredients as old and archaic as slavery itself. Serving girls and women as objects of pleasing flavor. Stuffed with submissiveness, and garlanded with deception.
Women as fresh flesh is a sad, common, worldwide reality. From the big cities to the most remote towns; taking Coaxcatlán for example, a small town of San Luis Potosí, hometown of many cases of domestic violence. The photojournalist Victoria Razo (@_victoriarazo) traveled to this region and documented the experiences of Alvina Salazar, a mother, and spouse that suffered verbal and physical abuse for 20 years. Alvina married a man who already had three children. At only 16 years old, she became a wife and a mother. Alvina is one of many women and girls treated as livestock, ready for consumption. Humans have been acting this way long enough; unaware, or consciously ignoring, the consequences and acts that perpetuate violence and inequality. The time has come, and it has been coming for a while now, to restructure the way we consume.
Every meal is the culmination of a long process; from the seeds in the land or the animals on the farm, passing through irrigation or breeding, harvest, transportation and distribution. Each step, meticulously designed to give us a well prepared, juicy, and plenty course. If Female Violence is for dinner, why not dig into the recipe?
Breeding is the first step on a protein-based food, where women, nay, girls are a vessel for reproduction: their reproductive system as their main attribute, the reason for their value. It's the owner ́s decision to impregnate the female, up to discretion. They can be used for feeding the children. No need to milk them, they submissively provide nurture to the offspring, no need to pay them either. If, on the other hand, descendants are not an option; you can choose from a variety of methods, from sterilization to genital mutilation.
Feeding is an option, but younger flesh can certainly be treated and prepared for commercial purposes; the distribution and transportation of fresh meat are carried out all around the world at very competitive prices. All those efforts and dynamics aligned to provide a great service and tender products for the most heartless commensals, always wanting more.
Words as harsh as they sound, provide us with the empathy that statistics fail to indulge. Nevertheless, numbers talk way more frankly than susceptibilities. If not words, let percentages unfold our eyes. According to the UN “it is estimated that 35 percent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner” in which femicide takes around 87,000 women a year and 200 million suffered genital mutilation, “in most of these countries, the majority of girls were cut before age five.” If murder and slaughter are not enough, “women and girls together account for 72 percent of human trafficking. Nearly three out of every four trafficked girls are trafficked for sexual exploitation”. Female bodies bred, massacred, transported, and exploited, stripped of their dignity.
Among all of these numbers was Alvina Salazar, and millions of women around the globe. Victoria Razo gave us more detail about Salazar ́s abuse, from humiliation to murder attempts to violence against her daughter for the sole reason of being born a girl. Razo and Salazar engaged in a very intimate and sincere conversation that can be contemplated in the photographs. Victoria herself said, “ I think I learned a lot of things about her in so little time, that helped me on my evolution not only as a photographer but as a woman”. Alvina after years of self-healing became a totem of the empowerment in her community, helping other abused ladies in their struggle. Both Victoria and Alvina turned into firelights, guiding others on a road of shoutout, justice, and compassion.
Women are not the only warriors and men are not the enemy. Society conformed by boys and girls, men and women, are responsible for eradicating inequality as the main source of all kinds of violence. Just as our body fattens with trashy food, our social paradigms are vomiting excess of indifference, inefficient education systems, and deficient legislations. By consuming and defecating the same old routines, factors as inequality of opportunities and unbalanced power hierarchies are spilling all over our principles as human beings. It is true that action has been taken, but there is still a lot to overcome. Why don't we start serving equality as the main course, as they are humans sitting at the table and not on a plate.