Lifestyle & Belief

Colombia: Women's sex strike gets husbands' support



Karim Sahib

It all started last Thursday, when more than 250 women in Barbacoas, a remote, rural town in Colombia, began their "Crossed Legs Strike," saying their husbands would get no sex from them until they pressured authorities to get the town's only access road repaired so it could be used, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Now the men in the town are joining in the action, according to Colombia Reports:

After some initial frustration, men have decided to facilitate the protest against the corrupt local government by taking to their central park on Saturday to stage a hunger strike.

“(Men) have come together with women with a hunger strike. This is not improvised, this is a process that began a year ago to reclaim respect for human rights and gender advocacy,” a local Circuit court judge said.

About 40,000 people live in Barbacoas and the surrounding hamlets, and the only access is a treacherous, mountain road that stretches 35 miles, from the town of Junin, near Colombia's border with Ecuador, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The unpaved Junin-Barbacoas road has suffered heavy damage over the past year, as torrential rains caused landslides, making the commute more dangerous, and much longer, about 10 hours now, compared with four to six hours under normal conditions.

Dozens of people have died on the road before they were able to receive medical attention at the nearest hospital, according to Colombia Reports. And the difficult route hinders delivery of crucial supplies.

According to the Wall Street Journal:

"These women, and all of the rest of us in this town, are fed up with the empty promises from the central government," Lucelly Del Carmen Viveros, the human rights coordinator in the town of Barbacoas, said in a phone interview Friday. "This is the only road connecting Barbacoas to the rest of the state and the country, and it's in despicable condition."

Colombia was hit by severe downpours over the past 12 months, caused by the La Nina weather pattern. President Juan Manuel Santos said the rains and flooding, which destroyed highways, bridges and crops, were the worst natural disaster in the history of the country.

Viveros said former President Alvaro Uribe promised the townspeople of Barbacoas two years ago that funds had been earmarked to pave the Junin-Barbacoas route, but she said nothing much happened.

Now, according to Colombia Reports, the National Roads Institute has assigned the project to military engineers who have until July 1 to start construction, although they say that paperwork is hindering their efforts.

Sex strikes are nothing new in Colombia, according to Colombia Reports. In 1997, the country's military chief, Manuel Bonnet, called for a sex strike among the wives of paramilitaries, guerillas, and druglords to work for peace. In 2006, wives and girlfriends of gang members in the town of Pereira in central Colombia reportedly withheld sex from gangsters who failed to turn in their arms after a wave of violence in their city that left 480 people dead.