Colombian women go on sex strike

La huelga de piernas cruzadas. Long overdue. Maybe it will catch on globally. From the London Times, Sept. 24:

A SEX strike organised by the girlfriends of gang members in one of Colombia’s most violent cities to protest against a wave of murders has been hailed as a success by the local security chief.

The action became known in the Colombian media as the “crossed-leg strike” because of the women’s refusal to have sex with their men until they promised to give up violence.

After 10 days of abstinence the women of Pereira were said by the security chief to have proved that they could win their battle with “very noble weapons”.

As one gang member said: “You listen to your woman.”

Pereira, a city of 500,000 inhabitants, has one of the worst crime rates in the country, with 488 recorded murders last year; 90% of gang members killed were aged between 14 and 25.

The women produced a rallying song for local radio, which went: “I choose how, where and when I give in. Women united against violent men. Let’s close our legs.”

One striker said of her boyfriend: “I would prefer him getting angry to having to go and cry at his funeral.”

The lure of criminality was as much the desire for status and sexual attractiveness as money, according to reports on Colombian radio. The women adopted an ancient tactic used by the women of Athens to halt the Peloponnesian war — if Aristophanes’s play Lysistrata, written in 411BC, is to be believed.

Alvara [sic] Uribe, the president of Colombia, has cracked down on crime by doubling spending on law enforcement and expanding the police force by 25%. The numbers of political murders and kidnappings dropped by 80% last year. [We question this claim—WW4R]

In the Pereira region, which is situated in the heart of Colombia’s coffee-growing area [Risaralda department], there were 97 murders per 100,000 people last year.

It is too early to tell whether the “crossed-leg strike” will have encouraged gang members to sheathe their weapons permanently.

See our last post on Colombia.

  1. In related news…
    The Medellin anti-authoritarian group Youth Network (Red Juvenil) announces in a Sept. 28 statement that a group of 30 Medellin residents are publicly renouncing their loyalty to the Catholic church in protest of its stand against abortion rights and to demand the legalization of abortion in Colombia. They invite others to join their self-proclaimed “Apostacy” movement.

  2. An update
    From the BBC, Sept. 22:

    Women call off Colombia sex ban

    The girlfriends of gang members in one of Colombia’s most violent cities have called off a sex strike aimed at ending a deadly gang feud.

    Women in the city of Pereira launched the “cross-legged strike” 10 days ago.

    Pereira’s security chief hailed the strike as a success, saying the women had shown they could win with what he described as “very noble weapons”.

    There were some 488 murders reported in Pereira during 2005, with 90% of the dead gang members aged 14 to 25.

    Launching the strike, the women vowed to withhold sex until their boyfriends stopped fighting.

    “I would prefer him getting angry to having to go and cry at his funeral,” one of the strikers said.

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

    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.

    There was no immediate indication whether the strike had had any effect on the local murder rate.