“When my mother was engaged in the 1970s more or less, women couldn’t get ahead even if they wanted to – they couldn’t study and forget about them understanding their rights. Imagine how much heart these women must have had to handle so much oppression,” said Luz Angelica to her curious assistant Namir.
Luz Angélica is the heroin of a new radio drama, Corazon de Mujer, dedicated to promoting women’s empowerment and gender equality in Chiapas, Mexico.
Launched on March 8th, International Women’s Day, Corazon de Mujer narrates the story of three generations of women as they seek to change the reality of their circumstances. The storyline touches on the fibers of the audiences’ daily life and brings listeners close to the daily struggles of Chiapas women. Complementary talk shows will provide audience members with critical information and the encouragement to face challenges and move forward.
Throughout the course of the broadcast, the radio drama has positively impacted men and women. Every week listeners call-in to the radio talk show to share personal stories, voice opinions about how the drama relates to society’s issues, and provide advice to others.
Many women call seeking support on how to deal with a situation similar to one that happened to the show’s main character, Rosita. For example, one woman called to ask:
Thank you for the program – it is very nice. I am very grateful to the radio drama for touching upon Anita’s rape. My daughter recently confided in me that she was raped six years ago by her half-brother. Is there anything I can do to get justice? My daughter asked me if there is anything I can do to help her seek retribution. What can I do? My daughter has suffered many traumas.
Others call to discuss the rape of Rosita by her husband Pablo on their wedding night. Women connected with Rosita’s experience and called-in to share:
I believe that the radio drama is touching upon the realities that so many of us live. I want to say that what Pablo did while drunk the night of the wedding to Rosita was wrong. I want men to listen: the first night of marriage is a trauma that stays with us forever, throughout life. It is horrible what happens. Men should respect if, on the first night, we are tired. They should wait until the relationship becomes nice because to feel, on the first night, a drunken man next to you is horrible. After thirty years of marriage we keep this trauma. We carry this rape from our first night of marriage.
Women are finding support in learning about Rosita’s experience and hearing the testimonies of fellow listeners. Many use the call-in show as an opportunity to talk at liberty about issues they cannot always discuss openly in public. One caller described the terrifying experience of having to prove one’s virginity on the first night of the honeymoon, a common experience for many young women in the broadcast area:
When my sister got married, on the first night of her honeymoon she was forced to submit to her husband and put a white sheet on the bed to see if she was a virgin. If she was a virgin, she had to stain the sheet with blood. If she was not a virgin, she would have been ostracized by her husband and his family. These fears and harassments left psychological scars. Women who do not bleed are subjected to harsh physical and emotion abuse. This way of thinking is ignorant and devalues women. They do not understand the value of women; that women are the motor of the family. I believe most women share the fear of this event.
But the space is also used to give hope and encouragement to listeners. Several older women have called in to encourage young women to continue studying in order to provide for themselves and not become so reliant on marriage. These women share their years of insight and words of wisdom to encourage younger women to choose alternative paths.
What do you think? What would you say to these women?