Women in Spain say: ‘We are all Laura!’

From the January-February 2019 issue of News & Letters

Women in Spain are outraged by the brutal murder of Laura Luelmo on Dec. 14 and have filled the streets of El Campillo, Huelva. Luelmo, a 29-year-old teacher on her first assignment, was raped and murdered by Bernardo Montoya, a 50-year-old convict who had spent half of his life behind bars.

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IS RAMPANT

Laura Luelmo

One worker said, “I have a four-year-old daughter. I will raise her to be 20 years old and then she will be raped and killed by an ex-convict!” Another woman said, “I am scared to go out in the streets. It does not matter how old you are; even older women are attacked and raped by strangers in the street.”

Spain’s court received more than 166,000 gender violence complaints in 2017, an increase of 16% over 2016. Since 2003, when Spain started keeping records, 27 children and 972 women have died from violence. Carmen Calvo Poyato, Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister, said of Luelmo’s murder, “Women have to pay a cruel and high price for our freedom and security.”

Demonstrations broke out in several other cities over Luelmo’s murder. In Zamora there was a silent demonstration and a rally against male violence. Their slogan was: “We are all Laura!” The demonstration in Seville was initially against the emergence of fascism in the Andalusian Parliament: a far-right political group, Vox, aims to take over the political center of the country.

March organizers see Luelmo’s murder as an example of “macho terrorism.” Women chanted, “We are all Laura,” “No, no, we’re not afraid,” and “The street and night are ours too!” One banner put it all together: “Capitalist politics opened the doors of the Andalusian Parliament to racism and machismo because they are useful for dividing the exploited class.”

—Mannel and T.M.

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