In this place in Colombia they prohibited rude compliments

It is not a joke, in Timbío (Cauca) they got tired of this behavior that is common among men and that for women ends up being aggressive, and we all agree, I wish this would be replicated in more places in our country.

Aggressive, obscene, disrespectful, abusive and intimidating: this is how many of the compliments that women hear on the street when they are walking can be described. A common practice in Latin American countries, but it is still uncomfortable for those who receive it and is even considered street harassment. To deal with this situation, in Timbio (Cauca)a town in Colombia, decided to say ‘no more’ to compliments «profanity» and «rude»as explained to Cnn in Spanish its own mayor, Libardo Vásquez. And with a decree in between.

“The decision was made to prohibit coarse, rude compliments, those that offend the ladies. Obviously, the other kind of gallant compliments have nothing to do with the decision.»added the president. The decree, which was signed last November 25 during the International Day of the Elimination of Violence against Womenseeks to be more educational and preventive than punitive.

TODAY: our mobilization group in @TimbioCauca Launch your campaign:

— Global Revolution (@RevolutionG) November 9, 2016

Signs were placed in six places in the municipality of Timbío that invite one to reflect on the off-color compliments. «A gallant does not harass women on the street, but rather makes Timbío a safe space for them,» reads one of the signs. “We have placed the messages in the strategic places where women told us they felt harassed the most, as a kind of signaling, to make men aware that when they go to pay a lady a compliment, it should be done in a pleasant way and not offensive. ”said the mayor.

Thus, the decree provides actions to “to reflect on the acceptance and repetition of everyday language that reproduces inequality and certain practices that, due to their repetition, have normalized and trivialized violence against women, presenting it as gallantry, humor or the right of men”. Therefore, the document continues, it is arranged to implement the use of a language “of equity and respect towards all the women and girls of the municipality”.

In @TimbioCauca we mobilize for a municipality free of street harassment and violence against women @USAID_Colombia @UNMujeresCol

— Global Revolution (@RevolutionG) November 9, 2016

However, the controversy has not been long in coming. Many have considered the decree as something extreme and, according to Libardo Vásquez, other mayors have made a joke that in Timbío it will no longer be possible to “go to fall in love”. But the president insists that it is «prevention against mistreatment of women» because «the abusive compliment is street harassment and that must be avoided». She even pointed out that the practice is rooted, but that the women of Timbío said no more and the measure was implemented. Justly, “What you call a compliment is street harassment” is the name of the initiative.

In addition, starting in December, a series of free training sessions will be held on the prevention of gender-based violence and a differential approach to consolidate the measure so that it does not remain solely on the subject of «prohibition». According to the decree, the idea is to make Timbío «The first municipality in Colombia free of street harassment against women».

How effective can the measure be?

For Catalina Ruiz-Navarroexpert on gender issues, columnist and co-director of the feminist project (e)stereotipas –which uses pop aesthetics, humor and the multiple spaces that digital technologies open up to communicate feminist ideas–measures to reduce street harassment must be cultural and not criminal. «It is impossible to catch and put in jail all the guys who tell you or yell at you things that you don’t want them to yell at you»explained to Cnn in Spanish. In addition, because he considers that this would be putting language in a problem.

About the campaign that they advance in warmassured that “I like the idea of ​​telling men to make a safe space for women”. Ruiz-Navarro considered that many initiatives of this type have failed because they are aimed at the aggressors in the first instance, so «it is key» to start with another approach, as in the case of the municipality. However, he recalled that the street is not the only place where women feel fear: “It is not just street harassment, that is where it is less serious, there is also harassment in schools, in homes, domestic violence”.

Ruiz-Navarro even went further and revealed that the campaign of my first harassmenta great trend in social networks in which many Latin American women shared last April how they felt violated or harassed for the first time, «showed us that all Latin American women have been harassed and that harassment begins at 5, 7 or 8 years”.

Taken from CNN in Spanish