On November 25, people around the world commemorated the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
Violence against women is a complex cultural issue that can be examined from different angles. To be changed it needs the compromise of all social sectors to end it. This year the Latino community proposed to remember this day in a different way; with the proposal to examine violence against women in the form of songs, music and art from a variety of languages, cultures and artists.
The event’s purpose was to examine art and culture and interpret what the lyrics in songs were really saying or what art was really expressing. The exercise unveiled what those apparently sweet songs or art pieces really mean to say, and how these words or art were the expression of violent men with aggressive intentions toward women. And in the process, discovering a hidden violent message in artistic expression, included looking for empathy for the aggressor and blaming the victims.
Gender violence is not only physical, and it can take many other forms to devalue women, to instil fear, to limit their autonomy, to isolate them in the family and in the social wider context –as per example inequity at work. These different forms of violence have negative consequences on women’s physical and mental health, and have a negative impact on their children, who are witness of the violence against their mothers
These are not issues usually examined in a fun and interactive manner, but this was the proposal of Latin@s en Toronto, (with the support of the Counsil of Spanish Heritage, Colectivo 65 and Ashtor). Using the tools given by music, sense of humour and poetry, the audience and organizers lost the fear of looking for new meanings in words and songs.
The meeting was at 1265 St. Clair Ave. West (Evoke Gallery). The participants only needed to bring a good sense of humour and be willing to smile.