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Photo: @cami Instagram
Photo: @cami Instagram

Justice for Antonia takes over Chile

Antonia Barra committed suicide in Oct. 2019 after she was shunned for revealing her sexual assault at the hands of Martín Pradenas.

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On Tuesday July 21, the trial began for Martín Pradenas, who was accused of sexually assaulting Antonia Barra in Pucón, Chile in September 2019. 

After the assault, Antonia stayed silent for weeks, fearing the reaction of her parents. 

In October, she finally spoke up and told her ex-boyfriend, Rodrigo Canario, but he insulted her with very disparaging words that further traumatized her. 

The next day she texted Canario “goodbye,” and took her own life in her hometown of Temuco. 

On June 15, Chilevisión broadcast a video showing Pradenas pulling Barra, leading her to his cabin in Pucón. The video makes it clear that Barra was extremely intoxicated and trying to resist, but Pradenas takes her by the hand and insists on taking her away from the party they were at.

In a video uploaded to Youtube, Pradenas broke his silence and claimed innocence. He maintained that him and Barra “kissed, hugged and left the party like normal people.”

During the trial, Pradenas was also charged with five more counts of sexual abuse of other young women. Two of the cases, which occurred between 2010 and 2014, were dismissed because they were time-barred, and the remaining three were dismissed because “there was no record to establish the cases.” 

Barra’s case has been known in Chilean media for over a year now, but the outrage grew more this Wednesday, after it was discovered the judge gave Pradenas house arrest, but not preventive detention. 

Despite the pandemic, thousands of women took to the streets in various cities in Chile to demand #JusticiaParaAntonia. They chanted a hymn written and made famous by the feminist collective “Las Tesis.” The collective is made up of four 31-year-old women, Daffne Valdés, Sibila Sotomayor, Paula Cometa Stange and Lea Cáceres.

Their song “A Rapist on your Way” has been translated and repeated all over the world, in countries such as Spain, Argentina, France, Costa Rica and Germany. 

“Y la culpa no era mía, ni dónde estaba ni cómo vestía, el violador eras tú, el violador eres tú. son los pacos, los jueces, el estado, el presidente, el estado opresor es un macho violador,” reads some of the lyrics.

(And it wasn't my fault, nor where I was, nor how I was dressed, the rapist was you, the rapist is you. It's the cops, the judges, the state, the president, the oppressive state is a macho rapist.)

Famous Chilean singer Camila Gallardo posted on Instagram in support of the cause, with a series of photos of powerful words written on her bare body. “What my body wants to carry, what my eyes want to see, what my hands want to touch, where my legs want to take me.” 

Her caption read, “consentir es libertad y libres las queremos,” (consent is freedom and we want them free).

Artist “La Cosa Mostra” posted street art that read “si violan la cuarentena, van presos. Si nos violan a nosotros, no,” (if they violate the quarantine, they go to jail. If they violate us, they don't)

An artist account on Instagram, Naika Diseño, posted a graphic design honoring Barra’s life, with the words “Somos Tu Voz,” (we are your voice).

“If justice is NOT our voice, we will be. For #AntoniaBarra and for all those friends, sisters, women who have been abused, raped and/or murdered at the hands of males supported by the patriarchy,” her caption read. 

Women all over Chile have come together to demand justice for Antonia Barra and to dismantle the system that blames victims and lets abusers walk away unpunished. 

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