Micaela García and the Ni una menos (Not One Less) movement
| By Gabby De Cicco
Every other day, a woman, girl or trans woman is killed in Argentina. These murders of women or girls, particularly by men on account of their gender is known as femicide.
In the last two years, the number of femicides has grown at an exponential rate. According to La casa del Encuentro, 290 cases of femicide were recorded in 2016.
In May 2015, Chiara Páez, a 14-year-old girl was beaten to death by her boyfriend, an incident that led to the formation of the Ni una menos (Not One Less) movement by feminist activists and journalists. Their first action was a march held in June 2015 in 80 cities throughout Argentina.
Over 300,000 protesters took part in the march in the capital Buenos Aires, calling for justice for Chiara and speaking up against the sharp rise in cases of gender-based violence and the systematic murders of women in Argentina. The movement and protests have reached other countries such as Uruguay and Peru.
Micaela García was an active member of the Ni una menos movement. Her social activism began early in life when she was made President of the students centre in secondary school, and in 2013, she became involved in the “JP Evita” Movement focusing on gender equity, the importance of a political economy, and related struggles for land, housing and work.
The last time anyone saw Micaela García alive was on April 1, 2017 as she left a dance club. On April 8th her body was found on the outskirts of the city of Gualeguay, Entre Ríos. The autopsy report confirmed that she had been sexually assaulted and murdered.
The murder of Micaela led to demonstrations by the Ni Una Menos movement.
Carla Bassini, a close friend of Micaela, shared her friend’s understanding of the gendered aspects of violence, saying, she understood that some issues are so deeply rooted and socially normalized: “like not reporting it or the judicial system or police not taking the charges seriously, that change or transformation would take much more resources and time”.
In Argentina today, feminist activists working within a challenging political context have been demanding systemic change, and continue to hold the state accountable for the protection of women and girls. This includes ensuring the sustainability of organizations and programs that support and guide women, lesbians, and trans women affected by gender-based violence.
“While we were in the process of seeking justice for Mica, we tried to reflect and find more meaning in what had happened, understanding that while there are any number of sentences, the ‘solution’ didn’t lie in punishment or hating someone. This was one piece of a very deep issue, and justice for Micaela would mean that what happened to her doesn’t happen to anyone else,” reflects Carla.
In October, the person who murdered Micaela García was sentenced to life in prison and an accomplice was given a five-year prison sentence. Activists in Argentina continue to say ‘not one more’, and to call for the State to end femicides, and to thoroughly investigate and end impunity against women and girls.
Micaela García was one of 72 women, trans and gender nonconforming people featured in the 2017 Tribute to Women Human Rights Defenders who are no longer with us.