Colombia’s national soccer team joined a campaign saying “no” to violence against women, called “Now’s not the time to stay silent.”
“The videos will remain in circulation On April 23, when we will hold a large national forum on sexual violence in Bogota and in Cartagena,” the campaign’s founder, journalist Jineth Bedoya told Colombia Reports Tuesday.
Additionally, in nine soccer stadiums across the country, players will wear campaign t-shirts carrying a message of non-violence against women.
Women, violence, and justice in Colombia
The “Now’s not the time to stay silent” movement was created by Bedoya, multi-award winning journalist and assistant editor of Colombia’s leading newspaper El Tiempo. She created the campaign in 2009, after publicly speaking out about her own experience of violence.
In 2001, Bedoya was kidnapped, tortured, and raped while investigating a story on arms trafficking involving state officials and right-wing paramilitary group AUC.
Bedoya’s case was held up in the Colombian Prosecutor General’s office for over eleven years, forcing her to seek justice internationally at the Inter-American Commission in Washington, DC. Her attackers have yet to be sentenced.
According to an Oxfam report, 500,000 women were sexually assaulted within the last 10 years in Colombia, and 90% of cases have gone unpunished. Oxfam suspects the actual numbers to be over 2 million, as many women are victims in the ongoing civil war and fear retribution if they speak up.
Now is the time to speak up: a message to the media
|“Women have spoken enough against violence: let’s hear from men.”|
“Something that is clear is that violence against women is not a topic that really interests the media,” Bedoya told Colombia Reports. “Not only in Colombia, but in other countries in the world: the press sadly treats [the issue] in a very sensationalist and opportunistic way.”
“The media has failed to highlight issues of violence against women in a way that I believe is its social responsibility…. here in Colombia this has been one of the biggest problems we have had in eradicating violence against women.”
El Tiempo hopes to address this problem and raise awareness among men, beginning with the “most chauvinist field of all,” professional soccer and the culture surrounding it.
The UN Women of Colombia have joined the campaign, and are happy to see the Colombian soccer federation delivering the message that “Women have spoken enough against violence: let’s hear from men.”
- La Selección Colombia le dice ‘no’ a la violencia contra la mujer (El Tiempo)
- Colombia Reports interview with Jineth Bedoya, 4/15/14
- Jineth Bedoya, Colombian journalist and activist: Now is the time to speak up about violence against women (Oxfam International)