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introSIN Vergüenza: Hablemos de la sexualidad sana

By far, one of the best workshops I ever attended was at the conference organized by the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault held in New Orleans in 1998. This particular workshop, facilitated by victim advocates with the San Francisco Women Against Rape (SFWAR) left a lasting impression on me not only because of the giant (and beautifully decorated) vulva puppet, but because of its theme: "Sexuality Education with Women as a Means for Rape Prevention". After having worked in South America for 7.5 years and having seen the benefits of using a wooden uterus model to help women and youth better understand the reproductive process, the idea of taking it one step further to actually discuss and honor female sexuality made perfect sense.


It was precisely in Paraguay, as we took the talleres to the campo (countryside) to address sexual abuse and healthy sexuality that I first became reacquainted with all of the terms that we Latina Americans have for those things "down there." Additional Yopará (Spanish/Guarani) terms and phrases for sexual relations not only mirrored the less-than-romantic "hit it," "nail," and "screw" hardware references in English, but they also included so many other creative, as well as violent variations. Fast forward a couple of years; a post on a Latin American feminist listserv regarding alternative words for "vagina" in Spanish led to an even greater appreciation for the Spanish language of sexuality. 


Through my work with Arte Sana I have experienced time and time again the power that art, music, and the collective dismantling of rape-supportive dichos or sayings can have on Latinas who have been conditioned to not speak of "esas cosas" (those things) or worse yet, blame their own bodies for their early sexual victimization. The sex topic taboo knows no geographic boundaries, and it is extremely important not to generalize the diverse world views of Latin@s. It is also necessary to address how the ongoing repression of Latina sexuality in some communities makes them vulnerable to sexual violence and re-victimization. In the same way that some young campesinas in Paraguay learned to use iodine (as recently as the 90's) to prevent being beaten for not bleeding sufficiently as virgins, vaginal "reconstructive" surgery continues to be sought out in the U.S. by some parents worried about their daughter's virginity status. Additional indicators of the virginity/chaste expectations are reflected in the consejos (advice) shared by some Mexican women, residents of the U.S. -- that it is better not to move or be responsive on the wedding night, to avoid being accused of being a mujer experimentada (a woman with experience). We have worked with women who have been convinced that it is "normal" for their husband to go elsewhere to satisfy certain sexual needs that a "dama" or lady should not engage in, and we have worked with survivors who have never experienced sexual pleasure.


In this our 11th anniversary newsletter, we share some of the ways that Arte Sana has incorporated art and cultura in our training and outreach to promote healthy Latina sexuality as a means to prevent sexual violence. In solidarity with all of the vagina warriors across the planet we proclaim: ¡Vivan las chochas sanas y felices!


Laura E. Zárate, Arte Sana Founding Executive Director

existe_ayudaEl Corazón 'Vajayjay'
Corazon Vajayjay

These are just some of the creative terms that Latin@s use to refer to the vagina and vulva in Argentina, Paraguay, México, Nicaragua, Panamá, Costa Rica, Honduras, Puerto Rico, and Brazil. The variation in terms stands as strong reminder to respect dialect and regional differences, for while the term "concha" may mean shell for Mexicans, it is also a female genital reference for some countries in South America.

passed_10000_markSanaTunes 2012 

Hablar y cantar 

For over a decade Arte Sana has incorporated songs to raise awareness about rape-supportive messages in la cultura popular and to address sexual violence issues in a culturally relevant workshop format. The following are just some of the canciones in Spanish included in the SanaTunes playlists to promote healthy non-exploitive sexual criteria and female sexual autonomy among Latin@s. The songs listed below represent eighty years worth of diverse genre (Salsa, Bolero, Reggeaton, Mexican "Banda" etc.) from Latin America, the Caribbean, the United States, and Spain.    


General Recommendations for Bilingual Trainers:

Acquaint yourself with the particular genre that may resonate best with your audience.

Do a lyrics search to determine which song(s) best meet your teaching goal(s).

Determine when to incorporate the song and whether sharing the lyrics may be useful.


Music videos can also be found on YouTube and Vimeo, though we recommend avoiding imagery that may distract from the essence of the primary message. For more information regarding Arte Sana training workshops on Empowerment through Song contact <artesanando@>


View and download the 2012 Arte "SanaTunes" list here.  


ATTENTION Bilingual advocates: Arte Sana will offer the workshop "El poder de Paquita: la sexualidad de la mujer latina" at the National Sexual Assault Conference hosted by the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault in August.    

redes_socialesme gusta

Why consider bilingual social networking site communication?

According to a report from BIGInsight:


  • Latin@s are among the most active groups on social networks.
  • 49.8 percent of Latin@ social media users spend between one and five hours daily on these websites.  
  • 13.7 percent of those studied said they're logged-in to Facebook, Twitter or another social network website for between six and 10 hours per day.
  • More than 5 percent spend 16 or more hours per day on the networks.


Source: Hispanics Log In To Social Media More Often than Other Ethnic Groups, According to Latest American Pulse™ Survey

Mes de concientización contra la violencia sexual 2012

Mensajes para las REDES SOCIALES


Para l@s latin@s la nueva 'plaza' de encuentro está en las redes sociales. Durante el mes de abril, mes de concientización y prevención de la violencia sexual les invitamos a publicar estos mensajes y enlaces en sus redes sociales para promover el diálogo. Y ya que tenemos tantos dichos populares que podemos usar para desmantelar los prejuicios y promover un diálogo sano sobre la sexualidad, juntemos nuestros esfuerzos para promover el mensaje bilingüe de prevención.  


Los siguientes mensajes pueden ser distribuidos en el orden que más convenga y según el tópico que desean tratar. Para promover una comunicación un poco más animada les ofrecemos mensajes sobre hechos, mensajes sobre algunos dichos y algunos enlaces que complementan a los mensajes. Se recomienda revisar los enlaces antes de publicarlos. 


Mensajes para las REDES SOCIALES


Enlaces Arte Sana also recommends for SAAM posts on social networking sites:

CAT CALLS by Amalia Ortiz 

LATINA CONFESSIONS interview with Sonia Gonzalez  

taasa_resolutionThe TAASA Resolution: a possible model of inclusion for others

We applaud the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault and its members for including an extremely timely resolution regarding immigrant survivors, as among the four that were recently passed at its annual meeting.

 asinactionArte Sana in Action
On this our 11th anniversary we are so very thankful for all whom we have collaborated in the past and looking forward to future partnerships. 

The 2011 Arte Sana training summary has been added to the Arte Sana in Action page of the website. In addition to the various border region presentations scheduled, we also look forward to traveling out of Texas to North Carolina, Oregon, and Illinois for the National Sexual Assault Conference in 2012. We are especially honored to be among the other ALAS members who will be facilitating 50% of the workshops that will be offered in Spanish.


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