The Cadena Cultural Center and the Ethnic Studies Department offered a screening on Wednesday, April 15 of “Justice for my Sister,” an award-winning documentary on violence against women in Guatemala.
The petite classroom filled up promptly at 3 p.m. with students eager to have their extra points jotted down in the gradebook. Little did they know the gravity of the documentary.
“Justice for my Sister” was released in 2012 and highlights the three-year journey of one Guatemalan woman as she fights the judicial system to keep her sister’s murderer behind bars.
According to the documentary, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador are referred to as the “Black Triangle” for the countries’ consistent and ignored fatal violence against women. Only 2 percent of murder cases are solved in these countries, as compared to the nearly 64 percent reported in California, according to the Department of Justice.
Director Kimberly Bautista experienced first-hand the violence against women in Guatemala. She was very intimately involved as the case unfolded for Rebeca, the Guatemalan woman fighting on her sister’s behalf. In addition to threats against Rebeca’s familiy, during filming several men broke into Bautista’s residence, stole her camera equipment, and raped her.
Shockingly and admiringly, this only fueled her to press on.
In Guatemala, the women who are murdered become the target of lifestyle questions not unfamiliar to American society. Why was she out so late? Why was she wearing that? Was she drunk? A prostitute? A drug dealer? Questions demonstrating the victim-blaming culture that is all too recognizable even in the United States.
Bautista explained that when she arrived back in the U.S. and sought counseling for the violence acted against her, medical professionals asked her similar questions such as, “Why did you go there if you knew what it was like for women there?”
“It’s time that we redefine masculinity and femininity,” Bautista said. “Such that femininity isn’t about being submissive and masculinity isn’t about being aggressive.”
This screening was part of several events in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Upcoming is the “Take Back the Night” rally on Thursday, Apr. 16 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., which will feature self-defense training and a candlelight vigil in honor of victims of sexual assault. For more information on upcoming events, the list is featured on the Fullerton College homepage at www.fullcoll.edu.