Colombian Transgender woman stabbed 20 times

Paloma Salas Jiménez

Paloma Salas Jiménez was stabbed in Barranquilla, Atlántico (Colombia) on 16 Apr 2020. / Photo Hora 7/24

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Paloma Salas Jiménez, 33, was found Thursday in a trash-strewn gully in Barranquilla, Atlántico, Colombia, on 16 April 2020. She had been stabbed 20 times.

Her murder was called out as femicide, a hate crime, to terrorize all women by regional advocates. Paloma was the third LGBT person murdered in the region since the COVID-19 lockdown began.

The magnitude of violence used in the crime against Paloma Salas Jiménez, led Wilson Castañeda, director of the LGBT advocacy group Caribe Affirmativo, to believe her murder was done to terrorize LGBT people in the La Chinita neighborhood.

Castañeda told El Heraldo he believes that the attackers intended to do as much damage as possible, sending a clear message that this was a “hate crime.”

“This is a trans woman who had a lot of visibility in the La Chinita sector and for that same reason, she was harassed by the illegal actors who control that territory,” he said.

We are also shocked by the crime of her crime because 20 stab wounds in her body show a clear intention on the part of the perpetrator, not only to kill her, the high level of violence sends a message of rejection of what the victim represents. “Castañeda said.

In 2019, there were 19 homicides of LGBT people in the Colombian Caribbean: 10 gay men, 7 trans women and 2 lesbian women; Of these, 7 were committed in the city of Barranquilla. In the intervening months of 2020, 11 LGBT people have been murdered in the Caribbean: 3 of them in the city of Barranquilla and all during the period of social isolation (March 23, March 31 and April 14) and two, of the three, occurred in the La Chinita neighborhood, according to a press release from Caribe Afirmativo LGBT.

Faced with this situation, it is necessary to remember that trans women make up one of the most vulnerable populations within the LGBT acronym; the prejudices towards their experience of gender and the visibility that characterizes them, easily positions them against multiple forms of discrimination and abuse as a result of prejudices against their identities, these charges, negatives that are reproduced in family, social and institutional environments and, therefore, on many occasions they are forced to live in conditions of violence, precariousness, inequality, fear and without being able to access the protection that the State should offer them; on the contrary, they end up being victims of discrimination before the authorities or excessive use of police force, persecution and abuse.

The Office of the Prosecutor should have feminicide as a hypothesis and look for the facts that indicate prejudice to verify or discard that hypothesis, remembering that feminicide is applicable when a trans woman is killed due to her gender identity. It is not enough to take legislative measures such as the one that created the criminal type of femicide as an autonomous crime, since Law 1761 of 2015, by establishing this criminal type to favor and guarantee the investigation and punishment of violence against women with motives for gender, also recalled the State’s obligation to work to prevent and eradicate all forms of violence or discrimination, an obligation that arises within the framework of the constitution and international instruments such as the Belém Do Pará Convention.

For all the above, from Caribe Affirmativo, we regret and reject the event that occurred and urge the pertinent authorities to adopt the appropriate measures with the purpose of clarifying the alleged prejudicial motives, and to avoid the repetition of similar cases, which are added to the ranks of judicial impunity, already so full of cases of homicide or femicide by prejudice. Likewise, we remind the media and journalists in general of the obligation to recognize and respect the gender identity of trans people, since not doing so constitutes a grievance towards the dignity of the victim.

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