Colombia: Vice-presidency proposes promoting women recruitment to stop violence against women by the army and police members

Three police women smiling
National Police of Colombia, Women's Command / Image: Wikimedia Commons/CC2.0

In response to the many known cases of sexual abuse and harassment of women by members of the armed forces and the police in different places in Colombia, at the end of July, the Colombian vice-president Martha Lucía Ramirez held a meeting with the Defence Ministry and the Military Forces. During this meeting, the Vice-president proposed the inclusion and recruitment of women as a strategy that could prevent violence against women by members of the military and police forces.

A public communication signed by the Vice-president, the Commanders and the Minister of Defence stated that the goal of the meeting was to form a commission to “strengthen and redouble the message in the military and police training schools, about respect for all citizens and, in particular, for the equality and integrity of women”. Likewise, this commission “will aim to stimulate the development of women inside the military and police forces, promote the involvement of more women in the public force and contribute to their development so that Colombian society benefits from their leadership and excellence and receives their contribution, building better bridges of coexistence and harmony in Colombian society, as well as the continuous institutional strengthening of the public force”.

La Tulpa Collective released a statement in response to the vice-presidency communication. They argued that these proposals, justified by an “inclusion” discourse, try to show “the scene of the war as it was one of empowerment (…) omitting, in addition, the lessons learned from the military doctrine that, in its logic, puts women at the centre of rapes, now within the armed forces”.

The vice-president’s communication notes that the commission will also work to strengthen the control mechanisms and recruitment procedures for soldiers, carrying out pshycological tests to “identify misogynist or violent traits”. On this, La Tulpa Collective said:

“We find the discourse in which misogynistic or violent behaviours are individualized, pretending to identify them with psychological tests, risky. Under this logic, its character and social origin are denied, and at the same time it ignores the close relationship between the patriarchal culture - with the violence that emerges from there - and the militaristic culture that sustains and configures the actions of the military institution.”

You can read La tulpa’s full statement here or below (in Spanish)

Sources: El tiempo, Vice Presidency refers to compulsory military service for women, 10 August 2020; AS Colombia, Compulsory military service for women in Colombia: what is known?, 10 August 2020.


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