Sunday, May 31, 2015

Remembering Rosa Elvira Cely

Participants in today's ceremony carry a sign about another victim of gender violence. 
Almost exactly three years ago, Rosa Elvira Cely, a 35-year-old cafeteria employee was savagely raped and left to die in the upper part of Bogotá's Parque Nacional. Discovered unconscious by police the next morning, Cely died while awaiting treatment after being shuttled from one hospital to another.

The viciousness of the crime and senselessness of Cely's death has made the crime an emblematic one for activists against violence against women, who staged a commemorative ceremony today on the site of the crime.

Despite publicity campaigns and stricter punishments - Cely's attacker, who was mentally ill, was sentenced to almost 50 years in prison - violence against women continues to be an epidemic in Colombia. A recent report by the Defensoria del Pueblo said there were 38 cases of such violence per day in Colombia - and those are only the cases reported and recorded publicly. Congress has two laws pending on the issue, one of which would make femicide a specific crime, and another increasing penalties for acid attacks.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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