In Dominican Spanish la ñapa refers to "the little extra" added on at the end. Just when you thought you'd gotten all that you would get, along comes your ñapa, like a baker's dozen, with one more kiss, one more pastelito, one more mango at the mercado.
If you can believe it, the country whose Mariposas inspired a global movement, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, November 25th (day of their murder), now has a bill introduced into the congress which would set back women's rights fifty years!
Among the proposed changes to the Penal Code are provisions which include:
I got wind of it when the woman who heads Chellis House at Middlebury College where our Women and Gender Studies is housed sent me an email from an outraged Feminist Forum in Latin America who was trying to bar this from happening. I wrote to several of my women friends and family in DR, most of whom didn't really know what was going on. Since this was about a week before November 25th, I drafted a letter and started emailing it to every Dominicana I knew, and "each one teach one" principle, each one sent it to family and friends. And so mid Thanksgiving gathering, I was sneaking online to keep adding names. I had to close the letter on the 25th at noon in order to allow friends on the ground in DR time to deliver to the papers. The next day news of the letter, signed by almost 200 women, and including everyone from Dede Mirabal to Dulcita Lieggi, Miss Dominican Republic to the Miss Universe contest, to Antonia Mojia, a domestic worker, has appeared in the major newspapers in DR (ElCaribe.com and Hoy.com), but only one (DiarioLibre.com) published an incomplete list.
But now some women in DR have posted a Facebook page, using the title of the letter ¡No Puede Ser! / It Cannot Be! to keep the movement in the public eye.
Below is the letter we sent in: midway is the English version with all the names again listed, and professions or ways women wanted to describe themselves in English. A group of Dominican women in NYC are going to print the letter and hand-deliver it to the ambassador to the UN from the DR. I'm amazed at how so many women are standing up. I think the Congress in DR is going to have a huge wakeup call: the world no longer works in those old ways, fellas!
Penal Code Protests in New York City
Penal Code Protests at the UN
AL CONGRESO NACIONAL, A LA OPINION PÚBLICA Y AL PAÍS
¡NO PUEDE SER!
Nosotras, abajo firmantes, quisqueyanas y quisqueyanas/americanas, rechazamos las disposiciones del proyecto de Código Penal en curso en el Congreso de la República Dominicana, que limitan seriamente los derechos de las mujeres y niñas dominicanas, y por extensión el bienestar de sus familias y comunidades.
No puede ser que el país cuyas Mariposas inspiraron el Día Internacional de la Eliminación de la Violencia contra la Mujer --25 de noviembre-- retroceda ahora vergonzosamente en la protección de sus derechos, aprobando un nuevo Código Penal que disminuye la seguridad y los derechos civiles de nuestras ciudadanas.
Reclamamos que el nuevo Código Penal no retroceda con relación a la actual Ley 24-97 que sanciona la violencia intrafamiliar y contra las mujeres en el ámbito público y privado; que se reconozca el feminicidio más allá de la relación de pareja; se sancione adecuadamente el acoso sexual y las violaciones sexuales a menores; y se garanticen los derechos reproductivos de las mujeres en base a los estándares internacionales de derechos humanos.
En este 25 de noviembre, un día mundial contra el tipo de violencia que eliminó a las Hermanas Mirabal, nosotras, abajo firmantes, elevamos nuestra voz en defensa de los derechos humanos de todas las dominicanas y dominicanos, y particularmente de nuestra población más vulnerable: las jóvenes que algún día se convertirán en las Mariposas del futuro.
IT CANNOT BE!
We, the undersigned Quisqueyanas and Quisqueyanas-Americanas, reject the terms of the proposed Penal Code, currently being debated in the Dominican Congress, which seriously compromise the rights of Dominican women and girls, and by extension, the well-being of their families and communities.
It cannot be that the country whose Mariposas inspired International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (November 25), will now shamefully regress from protecting the rights of women by passing these proposed changes, which seriously compromise the safety and civil rights of our female citizens.
We demand that the new Penal Code not weaken the current Law 24-97, which sanctions intra-family violence and violence against women in the public and private spheres; that feminicide not be exclusively defined within a couple's relationship; that sexual harassment and rape of minors be punishable; and that the reproductive rights of women be guaranteed based on international standards of human rights.
On this November 25, a day against the kind of violence which ended the lives of the Mirabal sisters, we the undersigned raise our voices in defense of the human rights of all Dominicans, and particularly of our most vulnerable population: our girls, who will grow up to be the Mariposas of the future.
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