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“Nobody knows the territory better than we do”: the stories of women victims of the conflict that are part of the Territorial Model of Guarantees

After the signing of the Peace Agreement -which, among other things, has a gender focus in such a way that the first to be repaired are women-, several projects have arisen framed in the Comprehensive System of Truth, Justice, Reparation. and No Repetition. One of them is the Territorial Model of Guarantees of Non-Repetition, which focuses on the empowerment of women victims of the armed conflict and their subsequent access to transitional justice for full reparation.

This model is installed in the municipality of Vista Hermosa, department of Meta. And it is precisely this area that was one of the most affected by the clashes between legal and illegal armed groups, with displacement and forced disappearance being the crimes committed to a greater extent. In total, and According to the Women’s System in alliance with the Association of Displaced Women of Meta, 10,195 victims have been registered in that sector.

Five years after the signing, and within the framework of the day for the elimination of violence against women, commemorated on November 25, cases of aggression due to gender issues have decreased, as stated in dialogue with Infobae Colombia, Rubeidy Martínez, spokesperson for the political training school ‘I can’ and who was part of the Territorial Model of guarantees.

“Here in Meta, cases of violence against women have decreased a lot, in part thanks to the dialogues that have taken place in municipalities such as Vista Hermosa; although of course, displacement cases continue to occur in the department ”.

Likewise, it points out that the aid has come from different sectors; not only in terms of entrepreneurship and business creation, but also psychological. However, a great problem persists that has not disappeared after the signing of the Agreement: machismo.

Here mainly they are being helped with housing and rent; and recently it has been managed, in conjunction with the municipal mayor’s office and the government, various processes that promote entrepreneurship in them. For example, some girls were given hairdressers, restaurants, shops, ice cream parlors, and all this to victims of displacement, and they were also abused.

The level of priority is not the one we want, because in psychological and economic terms we see very little aid, apart from because there is a lot of machismo here. In the municipality there is a lot of machismo and even disputes between women and that is seen a lot in the Women’s Table.

"Nobody knows the territory better than we do": the stories of women victims of the conflict that are part of the Territorial Model of Guarantees

Luz Dary Chávez, another of the women who participated in the Territorial Model of Non-Repetition Guarantees, explains for this same medium how female participation was and agrees with Rubeidy that the initiative, within the SIVJRNR, empowers the participating women, more beyond the persistent machismo in the municipality.

Everything was through training, many women from different communities were summoned. At first they asked us what we would like and they asked us to be clear about what we wanted and how we wanted it.

That inspired many women who came with that fear that they might find themselves with a normal project, such as by , But when they realized that things were serious, they attended punctually and there was a lot of joy and commitment. In addition, when the projects were handed over to us, we were surprised because we realized that they are very complete.

In that order, she points out that despite the progress, many things must be improved not only internally, since she considers that the participation in politics of women victims of the conflict is a pillar for the follow-up and consolidation of what has been done in the territory.

That there are no intermediaries, that we ourselves have political representation. That from Congress there is a representative of the victims who is accompanying and that we are all working for ourselves and not waiting for someone else to do it.

Now, with the seat they give us there – in Congress – it will be very different for all of them, because at least in the Victims’ Roundtable that was organized in Vista Hermosa, it seems good to me that they demand that the majority be women or that at least less half of the members are. It would be good if that happened at the political level and that they were victims, because only the victims know the things we have experienced (…) no one knows the territory better than we do.

Finally, and following the same line, Rubeidy Martínez expresses that in addition to political representation, they need actions within the municipality and that involve both women and men victims.

I say that much awareness is lacking; at least here in the municipality there are many women who have tables that welcome them and they do not know. They also do not know about their rights as victims and there is a lack of dialogue not only for them, but also for men.

It is worth remembering that the young women and women of the Vista Hermosa municipality delivered two reports to the JEP in 2020; one on enforced disappearance and the second on sexual violence. Both with real cases of people of the female sex who contributed their testimonies that give an account of the barbarism experienced in the context of the conflict in that municipality and that was replicated in many other parts of the country.


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