Tuesday, April 16, 2024
Women Resisting Violence book WRV Collective

Chapter 6:  ‘They cannot erase our memory’ - Memorialization, violence and the arts

This chapter by Jelke Boesten and Louise Morris focuses on women’s creative acts of memorialization and commemoration. It looks at how acts of mourning become sites of mobilization, active resistance, and empowerment. Focussing on institutional violence (in the case of the Guatemalan Hogar Seguro tragedy, a deadly fire at a State-run children’s institution, and other cases of militarized violence), it shows how women’s resistance is essential but often dangerous and difficult in these contexts. Nevertheless, up against the power of the State, it is often ordinary women who rally together, collectively seeking to honour victims, support their families, and to demand justice. This chapter shows the power of the arts in denouncing and resisting state violence and impunity.

About the authors

Jelke Boesten is Professor of Gender and Development at the Department of International Development, King’s College London. She writes about gender-based violence in war and in peace, post conflict justice, and memory and the arts in Latin America, with particular focus on Peru. 

Louise Morris is the producer of the Women Resisting Violence podcast. As a journalist and audio producer, she specializes in women’s rights and the intersection between art and politics. Louise works primarily in radio, producing and presenting documentaries for BBC R4 and producing for NPR. For LAB’s Voices of Latin America book, she wrote the chapters, Fighting Machismo: Women on the Front Line; and Cultural Resistance.


Boesten, J. (2022) ‘Transformative gender justice: criminal proceedings for conflict-related sexual violence in Guatemala and Peru’, Australian Journal of Human Rights, https://doi.org/10.1080/1323238X.2021.2013701

Boesten, J. (2021) ‘A feminist reading of sites of commemoration in Peru’, in: Boesten, J. and H Scanlon, H. (eds.) Gender, transitional justice and memorial arts: global perspectives on commemoration and mobilization. Routledge Transitional Justice Series

Boesten, J. and Scanlon, H. (eds.) (2021) Gender, transitional justice and memorial arts: global perspectives on commemoration and mobilization. Routledge Transitional Justice Series

Burt, J.-M. (2011) ‘Accounting for murder: the contested narratives of the life and death of María Elena Moyano’, in: Bilbija, K. and Payne, L.A. (eds.) Accounting for violence. Marketing memory in Latin America. Durham and London: Duke University Press

Burt, J.-M. (2019) ‘Gender justice in post-conflict Guatemala: the Sepur Zarco sexual violence and sexual slavery trial.’ Critical Studies 4: 63–96.

Crenshaw, K. (1991) ‘Mapping the margins: intersectionality, identity politics, and violence against women of color’, Stanford Law Review 43(6), pp. 1241–1299

Latin America Bureau and King’s College London (2022) ‘Women Resisting Violence podcast’, www.wrv.org.uk/podcast

Lugones, M. (2010) ‘Toward a decolonial feminism’, Hypatia 25(4), pp. 742–59

Morris, L. (2017) ‘A call to art: memorial’, BBC Radio 4, November, https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09dy204

Rivera, M. (2017) ‘Nos duelen 56, una acción global por la justicia y por las niñas’, https://prensacomunitar.medium.com/nos-duelen-56-una-acci%C3%B3n-global-por-la-justicia-y-por-las-ni%C3%B1as-ce60f7e3196c

Regina José Galindo

Press release

For press enquiries contact wrv@lab.org.uk. You can view and download press materials here.