Quito, December 27, 2016 – As organizations and collectives that make up the Ecuadorian women’s and feminist movement, in solidarity with defenders of human rights and of nature, we express our support to the comrade of Acción Ecológica who suffered a sexual attack, and we denounce this which we consider this act as retaliation politics. Indeed, there is clear evidence that it was a planned aggression aimed at punishing, intimidating, and intimidating other activists who appear publicly as leaders who resist the expropriation and exploitation of natural resources on land of Indigenous peoples or peasants of high biodiversity.  With his head covered by the hood of his jacket, the perpetrator of the aggression who appeared at the door of the activist’s home did not act like those who are commonly called common criminals, since he showed no intention to enter the house whose lights were off and whose door was recently opened, or to steal the belongings carried by the defendant; he sexually assaulted her and then, from a distance, screwed her up . This happened on Sunday, December 11, 2016 and was reported to the Public Prosecutor’s Office on Thursday, December 16; and just nine days later, the Ministry of the Environment notified Acción Ecológica of the beginning of a process for its closure.  And on the 25th of the same month, our partner got yet another threat of sexual harassment in her home.

It seems to us fundamental that public opinion knows that the woman attacked is a Defender of Rights that has openly accompanied the processes of organization and struggle of indigenous and peasant women for their rights and those of nature. Only in this way is it possible to locate this sexual aggression in the context of the reprisals suffered by autonomous women and others whose reflections and political activities are possible thanks to the support between us. As a women’s and feminist movement we have been denouncing the patriarchal violence of a series of practices of physical and emotional control of women; We have explained how this violence is expressed in practices of invisibilization (such as the denial of transcendence and even of the reality of the facts when a woman denounces them), intense forms, but difficult to denounce in their real dimension (such as sexual attacks, which beyond the act itself, connect women with their vulnerability and lead them to paralysis), to blunt acts such as femicide. These long-term reflections lead us to stand and speak in solidarity with the comrade attacked, because this type of patriarchal political acts find the women’s and feminist movement as an obstacle to violence against women that is often unpunished – issues of private life and feminine emotion. We want to express, at this juncture, that we will always remain attentive to the well-being of the women who, at the rural and urban levels, are at the center of the national political debate.

Finally, we consider it very important that public opinion places this sexual attack and the subsequent signal of intimidation in the context of the political harassment suffered by Acción Ecológica as an organization and by several of its members, since 2009. In fact, just as is happening today, in 2009 Acción Ecológica received an order for dissolution by governmental bodies (which finally became ineffective), as well as, at a personal level and in its private environments and throughout these years, several of its members have been defamed and insulted by public authorities, suffered the theft of computers from their homes, and subjected to surveillance, monitoring, and prosecution.

In this context, we publicly request the Public Prosecutor’s Office to initiate investigations into this case with the same speed with which other instances of the State have acted with the intention of dissolving Acción Ecológica, a historic political organization of civil society.

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