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Women go on sex strike to stop Colombia gang violence

By staff writers
September 23, 2006

Women go on sex strike to stop Colombia gang violence

-23/09/06

Women in Colombia have come up with an interesting new nonviolent tactic to combat gang killings in Colombia, which has suffered from endemic violence for many years.

The girlfriends of gang members in one of the countryís most turbulent cities called a ësex strikeí aimed at ending a deadly local feud. Women in Pereira launched the ìcross-legged strikeî eleven days ago. Yesterday they called it ìa successî.

According to media reports, Pereira's security chief said that the women had shown they could win with against violence with what he described as ìvery noble weaponsî.

The BBC reports that there were some 488 murders reported in Pereira during 2005, with 90% of the dead gang members aged 14 to 25. The alarming rate has continued in 2006.

When they launched the strike, the women vowed to withhold sex until their boyfriends stopped fighting. Studies had found that local gang members were drawn to criminality by the desire for status, power and sexual attractiveness, not economic necessity, Colombian radio reports

ìI would prefer him getting angry to having to go and cry at his funeral,î one of the women declared, asked how her boyfriend was going to react.

The Pereira region, along with neighbouring Dosquebradas, is said to be one of the most violent in Colombia, with about 97 murders per 100,000 people.

Elsewhere in Colombia, in addition to recent initiatives by Presbyterians and others, the violence-reduction organisation Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has operated a project in Colombiaís Magdalena Medio region since 2001.

The teamís presence facilitated the partial return and reestablishment of war-displaced rural civilian communities. It now monitors the human rights conditions necessary for their life with dignity.

Operated by trained CPT Corps members from inside Colombia, and from a number of other countries, the project is based in Barrancabermeja (ìBarrancaî for short), the region¥s unofficial capital. About nine hours north of Bogota by bus, Barranca hosts Colombiaís primary oil refinery. Political and economic control of the area is disputed among official government entities, rightist paramilitaries and leftist guerrillas.

In May 2001, CPT began a near daily presence in communities along and near the OpÛn River, about one hour south and up-river from Barranca. At the time they were almost completely abandoned after successive paramilitary incursions in the year 2000 had precipitated the flight of nearly all of the areaís approximately 200 families. The majority returned home by spring of 2002.

Travelling by motorized canoe, the team maintains a near-daily presence in La Colorada, La Florida and Los Neques, communities whose residents have declared their desire to live free of interference from any the armed groups active in the region.

CPTís presence is credited with helping create conditions for the return of displaced families as well as significant reductions in human rights violations.

[Also on Ekklesia: Christian peacemakers help save lives in Colombia; Catholics begin peace initiative in Columbia; Priest under death threat in Colombia begins UK tour; Football teaches non-violence to Colombian street children; Colombian theologian harassed over human rights]

Women go on sex strike to stop Colombia gang violence

-23/09/06

Women in Colombia have come up with an interesting new nonviolent tactic to combat gang killings in Colombia, which has suffered from endemic violence for many years.

The girlfriends of gang members in one of the countryís most turbulent cities called a ësex strikeí aimed at ending a deadly local feud. Women in Pereira launched the ìcross-legged strikeî eleven days ago. Yesterday they called it ìa successî.

According to media reports, Pereira's security chief said that the women had shown they could win with against violence with what he described as ìvery noble weaponsî.

The BBC reports that there were some 488 murders reported in Pereira during 2005, with 90% of the dead gang members aged 14 to 25. The alarming rate has continued in 2006.

When they launched the strike, the women vowed to withhold sex until their boyfriends stopped fighting. Studies had found that local gang members were drawn to criminality by the desire for status, power and sexual attractiveness, not economic necessity, Colombian radio reports

ìI would prefer him getting angry to having to go and cry at his funeral,î one of the women declared, asked how her boyfriend was going to react.

The Pereira region, along with neighbouring Dosquebradas, is said to be one of the most violent in Colombia, with about 97 murders per 100,000 people.

Elsewhere in Colombia, in addition to recent initiatives by Presbyterians and others, the violence-reduction organisation Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has operated a project in Colombiaís Magdalena Medio region since 2001.

The teamís presence facilitated the partial return and reestablishment of war-displaced rural civilian communities. It now monitors the human rights conditions necessary for their life with dignity.

Operated by trained CPT Corps members from inside Colombia, and from a number of other countries, the project is based in Barrancabermeja (ìBarrancaî for short), the region¥s unofficial capital. About nine hours north of Bogota by bus, Barranca hosts Colombiaís primary oil refinery. Political and economic control of the area is disputed among official government entities, rightist paramilitaries and leftist guerrillas.

In May 2001, CPT began a near daily presence in communities along and near the OpÛn River, about one hour south and up-river from Barranca. At the time they were almost completely abandoned after successive paramilitary incursions in the year 2000 had precipitated the flight of nearly all of the areaís approximately 200 families. The majority returned home by spring of 2002.

Travelling by motorized canoe, the team maintains a near-daily presence in La Colorada, La Florida and Los Neques, communities whose residents have declared their desire to live free of interference from any the armed groups active in the region.

CPTís presence is credited with helping create conditions for the return of displaced families as well as significant reductions in human rights violations.

[Also on Ekklesia: Christian peacemakers help save lives in Colombia; Catholics begin peace initiative in Columbia; Priest under death threat in Colombia begins UK tour; Football teaches non-violence to Colombian street children; Colombian theologian harassed over human rights]

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