Description/Abstract of your Event:
Women and girls have overwhelmingly borne the brunt of human right abuses during the long Colombian internal war, both as direct victims of the violence and in the aftermath. However, they have emerged as decisive protagonists in the struggles against gender violence and other forms of oppression. Our panel discusses multiple efforts spearheaded by Colombian women to engage with hostile forces despite serious death threats meant to dissuade their organizing. Las Madres de Soacha lead the struggle to obtain justice for their sons and thousand others who were kidnapped by the army, executed, and reported as guerrilla fighters. In Buenaventura, women played a pivotal role in establishing El Puente Nayero, the first ever urban humanitarian zone designed to protect communities at risk of human rights violations. Indigenous and Afro-Colombian young women and girls are overcoming, through art-therapy and psychosocial support, the trauma inflicted upon them by the systematic violence that correlates with the recruitment of child soldiers by armed groups. We consider these womenв??s efforts as emblematic of the kinds of novel interventions that are necessary, as they reframe the dominant narrative of the countryв??s much-anticipated transition towards peace. By focusing on women and girls as agents of change, we seek to engage in a conversation about the ways in which spaces of violence and oppression have been challenged, transformed and engaged productively.