Feeling the ocean breeze on the beaches of Punta Cana and Samana, some of the best in the Caribbean, is a feeling of liberation, content, and tranquility. The Dominican Republic is one of the most beautiful places in Latin America and The Caribbean. Along with its beautiful resorts, the Dominican Republic’s rich culture, food, and music make it unforgettable.
My parents are both immigrants from a small town north of Santo Domingo, where everyone knows each other. On my few visits there, I’ve always been greeted by friends and family that I hold dear to my heart. Still, I ache thinking about what goes on beyond the lovable environment I know.
D.R is a beautiful country, and I am full of pride to scream that, yes, I am Dominican-American, but women are being killed there almost every day.
The story of Emely Peguero is what opened my eyes, and maybe many others, to what is happening there. Emely Peguero was only 16 when her ex-boyfriend, Marlon Martinez, forced an abortion on her, killing the baby he would’ve fathered (which is illegal in D.R), while also killing her and then throwing her into the woods. The story broke the hearts of the whole country, everyone wanted to know where she could be, and if she was even alive when her family declared her missing. After it became a big news story, it spread everywhere. There were protests, petitions, all under the campaign ‘#TodosSomosEmily”.
When it was found out that her boyfriend was the murderer, along with his mother conspiring with him, it felt like every single Dominican was angry, heartbroken, and mourning.This story was something everyone I knew was talking about. At school, in the streets, at home; the story of Emely brought out a fury in everyone. With Facebook and the latinx news channels, these crimes are being broadcasted even more, reaching New York City, with protests being planned to take place to find justice for Emely.
Her story isn’t the only one, though. There’s Dominga Bautista Lora, found decapitated in a plastic bag, who had been missing for 18 days. By only June, the Dominican Republic already reported 43 cases of femicide, 6 in that month alone.The Dominican Republic also isn’t the only country to consider femicide as a specific crime, 15 other Latin countries have too. In 5 months alone, Columbia reported about 200 cases of femicide, according to the National Institute of Legal Medicine, along with Paraguay,”femicides doubled this year compared with 2016’s first two months, with an average of one woman killed every four hours” according to Telesur News Network, along with many other countries reporting their women dying every day.
These stories are ignored. The stories of all the women who are being killed due to the machismo of these countries deserve to be put into the spotlight because their dreams and plans for life are now only limited to a grave. They were killed for no real reason, except toxic masculinity. Americans should be aware of these atrocities occurring in Latin America and know that women’s rights are being stripped away. People always love to yell that they’re ‘woke’ and aren’t bigoted, but are you really ‘woke’ if you don’t care about what’s happening to people in different, more poverty-ridden places, or do you just care about what affects you, in your metal bubble?
Care about these women, remember these women, honor these women, and next time you talk about, yell about, and protest for women’s rights, fight for these women.