The historical and inherited abusive practice towards indigenous girls that is still in force today
Writing is a lot of things at once and that’s what makes it so special and comprehensive. However, there is one that for me is the most important: the voice. Writing is like speaking, but in a different way, with other rules that, for many of us, are even more functional than the vocal cords. I always say that I identify more with my voice when writing than when speaking, in fact I even like it more. Like any voice, it requires responsibility and truth (even within a fictional world). For me, starting to work with Infobae was understanding what that responsibility was about.
A few days ago my friend Margarita, a great teacher who gave me life, told me something heartbreaking: “El Chineo”. And, as always behind patriarchal violence there is a group of fighting women, she told me about the Indigenous Women for good living. This group of women is a movement that seeks to amplify rights by fighting against structural racism and against Terricide.
Product of urgent social and racist injustices, in October 2019, they launched the #BastaDeChineo campaign. After some talks with Margui and reading texts that she was sending me, I decided to communicate with the girls of the movement for more information. How could this be happening and I had no idea? I sent them an email and they put me in touch with Moira Millán, with whom I had a heartbreaking and emotional conversation on the phone a few days ago in which she told me her story and that of her sisters.
The name “chineo” comes from the time of colonization in which the Spanish called indigenous women “Chinitas” because of their more slanted eyes. What does this violent practice so named consist of? Staying at the time of colonization; When a girl passed from childhood to puberty, that is, when her menstruation arrived, for the indigenous community it was a reason for celebration because it meant that this girl “became a woman” and the arrival of women was a huge joy. The Spaniards found out about these celebrations and raped these girls to later become their patrons.
This, which beyond the horror and pain that it generates in us, for that time does not surprise us at all, continues to happen today.
It is frightening and worrying that these aberrant forms of abuse that occur mostly in Chaco, Salta, Tucumán and Jujuy, not only continue to exist but have increased to the point of being naturalized and socially tolerated. It is important to clarify that these tremendously painful crimes, which embody multiple oppressions, remain absolutely unpunished before a State that continues to allow this type of situation; childhood overwhelmed by adultcentrism; indigenous, poor, non-Spanish-speaking children subjected and chained as a fragile and easy target.
The violations of indigenous children, an aberrant reality that remains unpunished
These crimes, inherited and made invisible, are not casual crimes, they are hate crimes. To this day, they continue to be executed by powerful public figures, merchants, with the absolute complicity of the State and, in many cases, even with that of the indigenous men themselves (the girls’ parents) in exchange for perks or money.
It should be clarified that the scenario in which these people find themselves is one of extreme poverty. Scenarios where children die of malnutrition, where their parents are almost like ghostly specters submerged in alcohol and delivered to early death.
These girls know from the day they get their period that they can be raped. Many of them end up being mothers or commit suicide or directly die from the injuries of abuse, many of them in packs.
This chronicle of a rape foretold must stop now. Even boys are often raped as well. The perversity and evil that white men exercise on indigenous girls, acquires an institutional trait by having a blind and indolent justice. These crimes do not have any sobering flaw. For this reason, through the #BastaDeChineo campaign, the creation and incorporation of territorial defenders of indigenous women who can participate in the territories under the jurisdiction, umbrella and tutelage of the Ministry of Justice of the Nation is demanded. That they be in charge of making a survey of these cases and provide protection mechanisms in the face of any risk situation. Provide girls with psychological, health and safety tools.
The Chineos are not isolated cases, they are systematic practices with social and political complicity, indigenous women denounce for good living
5 central points to take into account of this campaign:
1) It is demanded that this crime be declared a hate, racist and sexist crime.
2) This is not a cultural practice but a systematic colonial practice.
3) It is claimed that this cause be declared imprescriptible.
4) Companies that have among their employees men who have raped girls are required to be held responsible and disqualified from working in indigenous territories.
5) It is demanded that policemen, gendarmes and/or soldiers who have raped indigenous girls be held accountable.
It is extremely important to understand point two: the Chineos are not isolated cases, they are systematic practices with social and political complicity. That is why it is so important to make visible what is happening. Inform ourselves and be able to provide data on the historical and social context of the communities. Reveal the role that the State is choosing to fulfill and the irresponsibility regarding the treatment and protection of the victim. In all cases of violence, not to mention in cases of minors, it is essential to take care of the victims: not to divulge their identities and avoid exposing them to greater violence and trauma. We have to deconstruct the way to communicate urgent abuses. And for that, the first thing is to broaden listening and stop promoting the colonial and sexist hegemonic discourse that is still in force. The very word “chineo” shows how the bodies have been racialized and the lives of indigenous women have been devalued. Therefore, to avoid the reproduction of hate speech and discrimination that characterize this aberrant crime, it is important to explain where the name comes from, how it started, in what scenarios and emphasize that this is in force and that it must stop now.
The #BastaDeChineo campaign
When I talked to the girls in the movement, I told them that I wanted to write a column about this. That I wanted to take advantage of this voice and place of privilege to make them visible, to project the cry that they have been exposing for years, to bring to light the macho, patriarchal and racist filth that is ruining entire lives. Moira explained to me step by step the aspects of the campaign, she told me the extremely painful scenes that she saw and that she sees daily of these girls and their indigenous mothers, to the point that she had to stop because her voice began to to break down. And mine too. Then we lay in a virtual embrace warmer than so many others, enveloped in an empowering sisterhood.
It is for women like her and like all the sisters of the movement that we have to raise our voice, because they are the ones who fight on a day-to-day basis and put their bodies into helping these raped and violated girls. They are the ones who will never erase from their memories everything they have lived through, all those unjust scars. For them, for the indigenous girls and women, those who are here and those who have been taken from us by the patriarchy, we shout #BastaDeChineo: the rape of indigenous children is a very serious and hate crime which we have a duty to stop urgently.
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