Comayaguela, Honduras. Every morning before going to college a young woman takes a selfie in front of her full size mirror and sends it to her father. Before leaving her parents’ house, the young woman’s parents came to an arrangement that allows them to continue a precautionary practice that they created out of necessity: seeing their daughter’s outfit before she walked out of the house every morning …in case she went missing and they had to identify her body.
After almost thirty years of democracy, Honduras was torn apart by a coup d’etat in 2009 that revealed the fragility of our so-called democracy. Since then, violence expresses itself increasingly through inequality, impunity, militarization and organised crime.
For Honduran women this scenario meant a significant increase in violence against us. Although violence against women has always been part of our lives, this was different and we knew it.
In no time, a never before seen escalation of murders began, especially among young women in the main cities at the hands of unidentified armed men. The majority of these crimes are not investigated and others aren’t officially recognised as homicides.
Other manifestations of violence against women also increased. There were more reports of missing women, sexual trafficking, forced migration due to violence, sexual crimes committed by members of the military, police or private security, and other human rights violations.
The government’s response has been to increase the security budget in order to have “control” over the Honduran territory and its people. And since it’s a control strategy and not a security strategy, this militarization of the problem will not decrease the violence but rather is already increasing it.
Violence defines and restricts women’s lives in Honduras.
I’m part of an organization that believes that Honduras cannot have a “national security strategy” if it does not take into account women’s perspectives and experiences. If you share this belief, I encourage you to look at Center for Women’s Rights.