To Raise Awareness About Domestic Violence, A Peruvian Musician Recorded The Antithesis Of A Love Song

“No woman deserves violence.”

Following incidents of domestic violence, some abusers apologize and make grand romantic gestures intended to gain back their victims' trust. But those apologies, as noted in a Bustle article written by domestic violence victim advocate Teresa Newsome, "can be part of the manipulation cycle... apologies almost never actually mean that the abuse will stop." 

Violence against women in Peru is shockingly common. On average, according to the country's minister for women, almost 10 women are murdered every month and an additional 20 survive homicide attempts. Now, in an effort to call attention to the danger posed by abusive relationships and the meaningless apologies they engender, some local artists are trying to reverse the trend by turning one man's final apology for beating his wife into what, at first, seems like a love song.

The song was created by Lima-based copywriter named Charlie Tolmos and his colleague, Nicolas Soto. The duo and Vida Mujer — an institution in Lima dedicated to helping women with mental health issues and survivors of domestic violence — enlisted the help of Diego Dibos, one of the most famous musicians in Peru. Together, the team took the man's letter and crafted it into a heartbreaking song, titled "A Love Song Written By a Murderer." 

At first, Dibos didn't reveal the origins of the song, but once it gained popularity in Peru, he divulged that the lyrics were from an apology letter a man had written to his wife just six days before he killed her.

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"In Peru, there are more than 100 murders of women every year," Soto tells A Plus. "There is a repeating behavior — men abuse their partners and ask for forgiveness in sweet messages, romantic letters, and flowers. So women, most of time, forget the violence and they give them another chance. This brings more violence, sometimes resulting in death." 

As for how the project came about, he adds, "We received the letter and it was so raw to read those words knowing that the man who wrote them beat his wife until she fell into a coma. So we gave the letter to Diego Dibos and he wrote the lyrics based on the letter. A few days after he launched the single, he revealed the sad truth." 

Femicide is becoming a global problem, but is most prevalent in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Peruvian government is working to reform their laws in order to better protect women. In September 2016, the legislature passed a law that provides for comprehensive measures to prevent, punish, and, hopefully, eradicate violence against women. The law builds on existing judicial measures to protect women at risk, and mandates the creation of shelters to provide temporary refuge from abuse.

In the meantime, Nicolas Soto, Charlie Tolmos, Diego Dibos, and local organizations like Vida Mujer are doing what they can to help. "We live in a very 'macho' culture, but with ideas like this we can start talking about women's rights," Soto explains. "We know we won't stop violence today or tomorrow, but with the million women and men we are reaching now, we hope something can change."

"We just want give women a simple message: If a man has abused you, please, don't give him a second chance, report it," Soto adds. "No woman deserves violence, no woman deserves to be with the devil." 

Though "A Love Song Written By a Murderer" has succeeded in raising awareness about violence against women in Peru, Soto knows this is just the beginning. "In Peru, something has to change, but that change must come from men who think they own their partners," he says. "Men have to raise awareness that we don't live in the Middle Ages anymore. Violence is not a solution for anything."

Soto also notes that in an effort to change how men in Peru (and around the globe) view women, it's crucial to properly educate children and the rest of the population. CARE, a worldwide organization that first established itself in Peru in 1952, is focused on empowering vulnerable groups and increasing household income through education. For information on how you can get involved, click here.

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