One Year After ‘A Rapist in Your Way,’ Las Tesis’s Revolution Is More Urgent Than Ever

Photo courtesy of El Dinamo.cl

The performance “A Rapist in Your Way” saw the streets for the first time on November 25, 2019, in commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Since then, the song has been translated into dozens of languages, and the performance has brought together thousands of people from every corner of the planet.

The experimental theater group Las Tesis, originally from Valparaíso, Chile, and formed by Paula Cometa, Daffne Valdés, Sibila Sotomayor, and Lea Cáceres, is now one of the most influential personalities in the world, and its message resonates louder than ever.

“We never sought any kind of massification or recognition,” Sotomayor told the newspaper Milenio, noting that their goal was always “to spread feminist theory to as many people as possible.”

A year later, it is clear that their goal has exceeded the mark.

On November 25, thousands of women gathered this time in one of Santiago’s largest squares to recreate once again the performance “A Rapist in Your Way” to mark the date against gender violence.

As reported by France 24, Four members of Las Tesis led the performance. The crowd was able to complete the performance only once before police deployed a water cannon to disperse the demonstrators from the Plaza Italia in downtown Santiago.

Earlier Wednesday, women’s groups demonstrated in Santiago demanding an end to the male violence. Barricades were set on fire, and a store was looted.

What emerged as a small mise-en-scene is now the global feminist anthem by default, in the midst of a new feminist wave that seems to be taking no respite.

Amid a pandemic that has shown the extent of domestic violence and amid a constant increase in the numbers of femicides worldwide, Las Tesis’s voice is more urgent than ever.

As reported on November 25 by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), at least 4,640 women were victims of femicide in Latin America in 2019, which implies an increase of 31.5%.

The countries with the highest rates of femicides per 100,000 women are Honduras (6.2), El Salvador (3.3), and the Dominican Republic (2.7). However, in absolute terms, they are Brazil (1941) and Mexico (983), depending on the institution.

“The performance of the Chilean feminist collective shows today how popular art can change the world, not entertain,” said Russian Nadia Tolokonnikova, a member of the band Pussy Riot, with whom they collaborated during May of this year in the creation of the Manifesto Against Police Violence.

“The viralization of the intervention revealed that patriarchy and gender-based violence are a global problem and therefore solutions must also be global,” the group from the port city told Efe in a telephone statement.

“If we don’t worry about ourselves, no one else will. It’s important to stay together, in communication, in dialogue, to make the resistance and the social changes we need,” they added.