"Como llegamos a tocar el dolor del otro?": Testimonio y resistencia feminista en Chile postdictadura Open Access
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Since studying in Santiago, Chile, during the spring of 2018, I have been interested in learning more about Chile's transition from a 17-year dictatorship to the democracy that it is today. More specifically, I want to study the human rights abuses committed during Augusto Pinochet's regime, and how sexual violence against women was employed as a tool of torture. Following this extreme trauma, The National Commission for Truth and Reconciliation Report, also known as the Rettig Report, was commissioned by President Patricio Aylwin in 1991. While this was an important step in assessing the crimes against humanity that occurred, this report focused on deceased victims, rather than on what survivors suffered. For this reason, I find it particularly compelling to read testimonies of what women endured as well as how they have remained resilient and chosen to confront their personal and collective trauma. This thesis will be composed of three sections: during Pinochet's dictatorship (1973-1990), immediately following the return to democracy, and today. Through primary source material recording abuses Chilean women suffered, as well as through an analysis of cultural production in the 1990s and between 2015 and now, I aim to demonstrate how memory and the personal and collective act of remembrance has been used to empower survivors of this violent dictatorship. Ariel Dorfman's play, La muerte y la doncella and Diamela Eltit's novel, Lumperica, will provide the foundation for the discussion on cultural production during Pinochet's rule, while the performance work of Colectivo Acciones de Arte (CADA) as well as the establishment of public spaces of memory such as Villa Grimaldi, will allow for a better understanding of how individuals and Chile as a whole sought to move forward after returning to democracy. Finally, I will explore the Ni Una Menos movement that focuses on the killings of women and girls in Latin America, which began in Argentina in 2015. The organizing and resistance currently occurring in Chile against machista violence in its ultimate and fatal manifestation - femicide - is directly related to and can only be understood in its historical context. Chilean women have suffered and continue to confront gender-based violence, and the ways they have written, spoken about, and embodied this trauma have taken many forms since Pinochet assumed control of Chile in 1973 and should be viewed as interconnected strategies of not only survival, but of resistance.