SAN DIEGO: Women Stage Cultural Performance Denouncing Violence Against Women

Photo: Women in San Diego perform the chant, “El Violador en el Camino (A Rapist in Your Path)” which originated in Chile.

By Edith Flanagan

On December 8, several dozen women performed a chant titled “El Violador en el Camino (A Rapist in Your Path)” in Balboa Park to denounce violence against women and in solidarity with the struggles of women in Chile and Latin America generally. The San Diego Incendiary Support Committee was also in attendance, who gave a speech and passed out a special edition of the paper titled “Combating Abusers.” The demonstration took place two days after the murder of Julia Serrano by the father of her two children, Fernando Avila.

The chant, created by Las Tesis, a petty bourgeois feminist art collective in Chile, was performed in English and Spanish. The version performed was modified slightly, with lyrics pointing to border patrol as one of the rapists the song identifies: “The rapist is you. It’s the cops, the border patrol, the judges, the state, the President […]”

The chant has gained a viral nature over the past couple of weeks, being performed across Latin-America, the US, and multiple continents by large groups of mostly young women to a musical track with gestures coordinated to the lyrics. Its politics primarily focus on the sexual violence of men against women, but makes no call for collective, working class revolution against the bourgeois order that exploits the contradictions between the sexes, reflecting the chant’s individualist perspective.

Following the performance, an Incendiary supporter gave a speech in which she explained the purpose of the paper and thanked the demonstrators for commemorating the popular rebellions taking place throughout Latin America against bureaucratic capitalism and semi-feudalism, both imposed by US imperialism. During the speech, the support committee distributed a special issue titled “Combating Abusers,” which documented the struggles of women and students against sexual violence and abuse in Mexico and Austin, Texas.

An Incendiary supporter addresses the crowd while others distribute a special edition focused on women confronting abusive people and institutions

“The newspaper we are about to pass out is actually about confronting abusers, like what you were singing about today and chanting about today as you commemorated the righteous rebellion of the people in Chile against the dying old state that oppresses women.”

When the Incendiary supporter mentioned the recent murder of Julia Serrano, the crowd chanted “Julia, Presente!”

Serrano’s murder is the third case of domestic violence ending in murder in the previous three weeks in San Diego. On November 16, Sabrina Rosario and her three children, Enti, Zuriel, and Zeth Valdivia, were murdered by her ex husband Jose Valdiva, who was also found dead at the scene of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Another murder-suicide took place on November 28, when 86-year-old Laura Koller was found dead alongside her husband Noel Koller by one of her children.

In the case of Rosario, she was murdered the day after she got a restraining order against her ex-husband and had documented death threats against her. This story resembles that of Veneranda Martinez in Austin, Texas, who had tried several times to obtain protection from police to no avail, demonstrating once again that working-class women, especially from oppressed nations, cannot rely on the police for protection when their primary role is to oppress the people.

“There are people who say that we need to reform the system,” the speaker continued, “but we at Incendiary News look to the people in Austin who we respect, at the Popular Women’s Movement, that actually confront the abusers, that confront the people that harass women, the people that rape women. They channel the anger of women into revolutionary violence.”

Later that night, Incendiary supporters put together a small memorial for Julia Serrano on the street corner where she was killed, taping a poster on a street sign that read “Julia Serrano, 1990-2019, Women Hold Up Half the Sky! Combat and Resist Abusers!” and set up several candles and a bouquet of roses. The oppression of women can only be eradicated by organizing women into the revolutionary movement, to directly confront the enemies of working women and working toward the complete destruction of US imperialism and the bourgeois state.