The Limited Times

Now you can see non-English news...

The theater to heal the wounds of gender violence


A group of women survivors of machismo in Guatemala created an artistic group in which they seek their healing and empowerment

EL PAÍS offers the América Futura section open for its daily and global informative contribution on sustainable development.

If you want to support our journalism, subscribe



They were years of silence.

Years in which only his family knew what was happening.

As a child, when she was six years old, her stepfather abused her and although she told her mother about it, it was a subject that they did not talk about for more than three decades.

She was in a marriage for 18 years in which she experienced physical, psychological and sexual violence.

She didn't talk about that either.

Lesbia Téllez, 50 years old, was a quiet woman, she kept everything about herself to herself, and it was like that for a long time until she got to know the theater.

“It was something that marked my life and it was through the theater that I was able to talk about this situation,” she confesses.

Téllez is a member of Las Poderosas, a theater company in Guatemala made up of women survivors of gender violence that seeks through this art to heal the wounds of machismo, but also to empower and help other women.

There was a moment in his life, says Téllez, when he thought that he was not going to be able to get out of that violent relationship.

But one day, in 2008, she went to a help center in Guatemala City.

It was there that she had her first contact with the theater when she participated in the recording of the documentary

Yo puedo ser


Little by little she began to feel that she had a voice.

“This has changed my life.

Before I couldn't see eye to eye, I couldn't speak, I was too shy, but from that moment on I learned the importance of concentrating, of knowing that I am capable, that I am no less than other people, that I can speak freely, that my word and my opinion are valuable”, he says.

Téllez, together with other women who had also suffered violence, began to stage their experiences;

their own lives.

It was the beginning of using the stage as a therapeutic tool.

“Every time we show our stories, those wounds, those traumas heal.

All this that we have lived through all the years that we were in a situation of violence”, says Téllez.

Currently, the artistic cast is made up of seven female actresses ranging from 19 to 63 years old.

The objective of Las Poderosas is to take the theatrical discipline beyond the artistic to give it a social meaning.David Alfaro

They soon began to be recognized as Las Poderosas, a group of women who used the masks of Mexican wrestlers in their works and who denounced sexist violence.

They performed in Guatemala, but also in other countries in the Central American region, Spain and Mexico.

Adelma Cifuentes, another of the members, tells her story: her husband ordered her to be killed with two men who shot her with a shotgun.

She survived, but lost her left arm.

“I felt that without her arm she was useless, I even wanted to kill myself,” she says.

And it was precisely her initiative that saved her from it.

“He helped me change my life and do things I had never done before.

Theater for me means many very beautiful things, it has helped me to heal, to feel like a useful woman and to sensitize more people, ”says Cifuentes, who denounced his ex-partner, sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Cifuentes had never been to a theater and confesses that he didn't even know what it was, but with time and classes he learned.

"I feel like a very different, independent woman and that's when I saw that she could get ahead even though she didn't have my arm," he says.

Las Poderosas work on documentary biographical theater and they do so with the support of organizations that offer courses and workshops on theater techniques, writing, but also work with psychologists who accompany them in their processes.

“It is a space where we know we can speak, where our word is valid.

Standing on a stage, telling those stories, that we can have the freedom to do so and that process transforms our lives”, says Téllez.

They have wanted to share this practice with more women in a country like Guatemala where 69% of women say they have experienced psychological violence and 55% physical violence, according to an analysis carried out by UN Women and Care in Guatemala in 2021. Las Poderosas They teach theater therapy workshops to address emotions and empowerment.

They work with various organizations and collectives.

“Our methodology was built through our process and we do it in partnership with other organizations.

They already recognize us as an association that provides community training with a gender focus”, she says.

The theater, acknowledges Téllez, who is also the coordinator of the collective, helped her go "from a woman who was a victim to a survivor and now to become an agent of change."

That silent woman who couldn't even look into her eyes, she says, doesn't exist anymore.

His work has been presented in different countries, festivals and community spaces including the Casa de América in Madrid.David Alfaro

Source: elparis

All news articles on 2022-12-22

You may like

News/Politics 2022-12-22T11:18:11.503Z

Trends 24h


© Communities 2019 - Privacy

The information on this site is from external sources that are not under our control.
The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.