Oxfam partner Todas wins awards for story on gender violence

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The Overseas Press Club recognized this photo, taken by Ana María Abruña Reyes at a spontaneous demonstration against gender-based violence on the Teodoro Moscoso Bridge in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Pictured is Bereliz Rodríguez, sister of Keishla Rodríguez Ortiz, who was found dead in the San José lagoon the day before. Ana María Abruña Reyes / Todas

Multimedia story profiles women, transgender people murdered in Puerto Rico in 2020.

The feminist journalist organization Todas has won a National Journalism Award from the Puerto Rico Journalists Association for its story Digamos sus nombres: Los feminicidios que hay que contar (“Say their names: Femicides must be counted”) about the murders of women and transgender people on the island, which numbered more than 60 in 2020.

The story won the prize in the special report multimedia category, and includes portraits of some of the women and transgender people murdered in the last year, along with data on violence against women and transgender people on Puerto Rico. The Overseas Press Club also bestowed awards to Todas for the story’s photojournalism and illustration.

Todas is a collective of journalists and filmmakers that partnered with Oxfam and others in Puerto Rico on the Enough campaign when it expanded to the island in 2020. The campaign, known in Spanish as ¡Cambia Ya! Vamos contra la violencia machista, brings attention to gender violence and femicides on Puerto Rico, which have been increasing since Hurricane Maria in 2017 and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Oxfam collaborates with organizations like Todas and other feminist and women-led organizations to push elected officials and policy makers to make changes that will end gender discrimination, a key factor driving inequality and poverty all over the world.

Journalism for important changes

The story is “… an effort to remember all women and trans people who were murdered as a result of sexist violence,” says Cristina del Mar Quiles, a co-founder of Todas. “It was thanks to the support of Oxfam America that we were able to do this work, which, beyond the award, is the type of journalism we believe can help make important changes in our country.”

Digamos sus nombres was written and produced by Quiles and Amary Santiago Torres (editors and also co-founders of Todas); and reporters Adriana Díaz Tirado, Istra Pacheco, Alejandra Lara Infante, María de los Milagros Colón Cruz, Laura Moscoso, Génesis Dávila Santiago, and Gabriela Carrasquillo Piñero.

While proud of the work of Todas and the accomplishments of the Enough campaign, Oxfam’s manager in Puerto Rico, Maria Concepción , says she wishes there was more coverage of the issue of violence in Puerto Rico. “The pervasive violence that affects the gender diverse communities does not stop, yet it’s still difficult for mainstream media to address the issue head on,” she says. “I am proud of the work of the entire team. They have used images respectfully and made a strong case for action.”

The award-winning story used data from another Oxfam partner on Puerto Rico, the Observatorio de Equidad de Género, which tracks statistics about violence against women. The data it collects and publishes was used by the Enough campaign and civil society groups to push the governor of Puerto Rico to declare a state of emergency in early 2021, which eventually helped the government secure $7 million from the Fiscal Oversight Management Board for programs to stop violence against women in Puerto Rico.

“The lives of women and trans people matter, beyond the violent events that made them news,” says Quiles. “They mattered in life, and their memory matters. It is and will always be the duty of journalism to cover stories using a human rights lens.”

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