September 18, 2018
News

#NiUnaMás: Colombian celebrities unite against domestic violence through social media campaign

Colombian actress Eileen Moreno has sparked a wave of social media scorn over gender-based violence by denouncing a violent attack by her ex-boyfriend and fellow actor Alejandro García.

Moreno, famous for her roles in Colombian TV and film began a relationship with García after the pair had been filming in Bogotá earlier this year. Though they moved to Mexico together, an argument after a party saw the relationship turn sour.

In a testimony she recorded about the incident and posted online, the actress recalls how her boyfriend at the time quickly became violent, grabbing her hair and throwing her to the floor. What followed was a strong blow to the right side of her face, leaving her with multiple fractures to her nose and a broken eye socket.

Besides describing the incident itself and the physical injuries she suffered, Moreno also took the opportunity to highlight the lack of support she received from the men around her at the time of the incident. The first, her manager – who lived with the couple at the time – did not open his door to her, merely instructing her to calm down, she explained.

In her frantic state, Moreno managed to flee the apartment and attempted to seek medical help from a policeman she found on the street. “Are you sure you want to report the incident?” was the response she received from the official, who warned her of the dangers of denouncing something she might regret in the future.

For his part, in her online testimony, Moreno describes how García begged her not to file a report, blackmailing her with financial incentives to dissuade her from making the story public. Charges have not yet been pressed against the actor.

Having eventually made her own way to the hospital, Moreno lives to tell the tale but took to social media this week to share her story and raise awareness of the subject.

“Believe me that announcing it publicly has not been easy…but I believe that when a woman is injured and doesn’t report the person who has injured her, she becomes their accomplice,” she said in the video, which has now gone viral.

After posting a photo on her Instagram covering the eye that was injured in the attack, Moreno is now leading a social media campaign to encourage other women to report their experiences and create a support network for others who are also suffering.

Using the handles #NiUnaMás and #YoSíDenuncio, which translate as #NotOneMore and #IWillReport respectively, a network of Colombian actors, authors, politicians and even sportspeople have come forward to show their solidarity and admiration for her bravery, posting photos of themselves covering their own eyes.

“Don’t let any motherfucker hit you,” said Colombian cyclist Rigoberto Urán, who took time out from the Vuelta a España to speak to Caracol about what he believes to be a “very sad issue.”

Fellow Colombian actress Veronica Orozco also posted a photo of herself, detailing her admiration for her colleague, along with singer Greeicy Rendón, Colombia’s first female Vice President Marta Lucía Ramírez, as well as dozens of other recognisable faces, all of which Moreno has reposted on her Instagram account.

According to statistics released by the Colombian Institute of Legal Medicine, 24,830 reports of violence against women have been made from January to June of this year, reported Caracol. This works out at 138 cases per day and six every hour.

There are, however, networks of support for women who are suffering. Fundación Maisa, for example, is working to break the silence on gender violence in Colombia, focusing on raising awareness of the forms of violence that exist outside of physical aggression, which can also be psychological or economical.

The current legal punishment for those who commit domestic violence in Colombia is between four and eight years in prison. However, the most important issue surrounds the thousands of cases of violence that go unreported each year out of fear. Colombia’s Women’s Secretary continues to encourage women to report all crimes, assuring victims that they will be heard.  

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