In 1984, amid violent clashes between the Peruvian military and the insurgent movement Shining Path, the military decided to build several military facilities in the highlands of Huancavelica province. Here, military personnel became perpetrators and accomplices of crimes against humanity. Over several years, they perpetrated sexual violence on the pretext that women from the villages of Manta and Vilca were supporters of the armed resistance. In addition to the severe psychological impact on the women concerned and the destruction of family and community structures, there were more than thirty unwanted pregnancies.
In 2009, twenty-four women from the municipalities of Manta and Vilca demanded justice for the first time. Almost three decades after committing the crimes, the rapists and their superiors were brought before a national court. It was the first time that the systematization of sexual violence in armed conflict was tried under criminal law, but due to willful delays and manipulation of the evidence, the trial stagnated losing its credibility before the victims (see Demus Report 2009). It was resumed in April 2017 after years of struggle by the victims and supporting human rights organizations (Aprodeh and Demus).
Human rights activists, like the women and men of the Colectivo Trenzar, which in English means “to weave”, tell the victims’ stories with dance and theatre to create public awareness and ensure a fair hearing for the victims. The dancers, choreographers, writers, etc. describe their artist collective as a feminist-activist space, in which themes such as memory, gender identities and human rights can be artistically rendered.
“¡No, no queremos!” is the result of a collaboration between Colectivo Trenzar and the Austrian-Peruvian filmmaker Martha-Cecilia Dietrich. This project was filmed for the first time in 2012 and re-edited in 2017 when the court case resumed. The dance performance in the film was written and choreographed by Micaela Tavera and embodies the victims’ demands for truth and justice in a time of silence and erasure. They say “¡No, no queremos!”
Performance-based dance piece produced by the University of Bern in collaboration with the arts collective Trenzar and the community of La Cumbre Carabayllo / Lima
Director: Martha-Cecilia Dietrich
Choreographer: Michaela Tavera