I experienced fear personally, because this type of conflict affects us, women, in a particular manner. We feel it in our bodies. When you’re in a situation of risk to your personal integrity, not only can they shoot or kill you, but they can also attack your body, cut your intimate parts, rape you. As a result, we go through the armed conflict thinking that they can harm our body. Obviously, sometimes I feel like running away from this reality, whenever I get tired of hearing this never ending chain of violent stories. But I have decided to be a woman that speaks out, that gives conferences and that keeps her head high, and I know that for me there are no other options.
Mariana Bermúdez Astudillo
Attorney, Government of Colombia
Encounters with Human Rights Defenders
Portrait: Verónica Giraldo Canal, 2012.