Women’s studies program hosts !Basta! event featuring activist Pia Barros

Sandra Gomez-Aceves – Special to the Southern News 

Southern Connecticut State University continues with its 64 days of non-violence that began on Jan. 30. !Basta!: A Global Movement Against Gender Violence was one of the events held to further inform on the topic and all of the aspects of violence.

The event was sponsored by SCSU women’s studies program on Wednesday Feb. 18 and featured Chilean feminist, human rights activist and writer Pia Barros.

Barros is the creator of  !Basta! which translates to !Enough!. Barros along with five other females with their own experiences wanted to share stories and start a movement against gender violence through storytelling.

Gender violence refers to violence against women, against men, against children and it can come from family, culture or state.

Pia Barros 2Barros and her team reached out to females in the entire country of Chile in hopes that they’d send 150-word short stories relevant to gender violence that they’d enter into an anthology.

Barros said against all odds, they were able to start the !Basta! anthologies. Although her project did not have the support of many, within two weeks,  !Basta! started to come together.

“We didn’t want an earthquake. We wanted a movement,” said Barros at the event, “but we were happy it happened.”

Barros referred to !Basta! as an earthquake because what began as a stand against gender violence in the country of Chile, has now become a stand against gender violence in a total of 11 countries, one of them being the United States.

“Every country has the right to make their own anthology,” said Barros.

When the countries asked to publish the Chilean version of !Basta!, she thought it was important to make them aware that everyone, no matter what country, has a voice and a story that should be heard.

Barros brought a handout for the students in attendance that gave them a guideline for their own short story. The first piece made the students start off their story using the words “He/She firmly gripped a pistol.”

From there on the stories elaborated and differed as students volunteered and read their creations aloud.

To connect the event even more to SCSU, Barros showed a three minute video that had graphic pictures and facts pertaining to gender violence in the U.S.

The video included an image of a woman with bruises down her body that drove some members of the audience to take a deep breathe in. Later Barros read a fact that said nearly 2,400 women had died because of gender violence in the United States in 2014.

Kristina Lacasse, junior psychology major, said Barros videos and words made her realize how relevant gender violence actually is.

“Some people put up with a lot,” said Lacasse. “They think they deserve the violence but that’s wrong because everyone deserves to be happy.”

Xan Walker is a secretary for the biology department and attended the event. Walker said she learned from the event that “gender violence exists” and that in order to fix it we “need to keep talking about it.”

Barros would agree. She said gender violence exists particularly in women and children. “Why?” Barros asked, “because we teach young kids and women to stay silent.”


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