Colombian Women Forced To Have Abortions And Everything Is Terrible


Hello good day and salutations friends. Did you know that in Colombia, FARC rebels regularly force female fighters to have abortions? (Holiday party tip: don’t start conversations this way unless you want to bum everyone out.)

According to an investigation by Thompson Reuters, Colombia’s 7,000-strong force of Marxist FARC fighters (FARC stands for Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia—Ejército del Pueblo, or the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia if you don’t understand Español) are pretty much the Very Worst to women they trick into joining.

Intelligence officials estimate that 30% of the FARC rebels are women, and they’re not shrinking into the background. They’re shooting guns, standing guard, building land mines, marching alongside the men. But while they’re not shrinking into the background, they’re not rising in the ranks, either; the army is far from an egalitarian utopia driven by ideals of fairness and justice it purports to be on its public materials and in international relations. Life as a member of FARK is actually a hellish pit of abuse for the women who aren’t lucky enough to be selected as the “girlfriends” of the male commanders.

One woman interviewed for the Reuters story says that most women in FARC are forced to used contraceptive injections, and those who do not are not allowed to get pregnant. If a FARC woman who is not the girlfriend of a commander does get pregnant, she’s forced to have an abortion.

“Eight months into my pregnancy, I was given pills without me knowing to induce the birth,” [Then-14-year-old FARC fighter Claudia] Roa recalled. “The baby was born alive. I held the baby for a moment in my arms and then I passed out. That’s when my child was taken away.
“A female fighter told me they had killed my baby. They suffocated him by putting a hand over his mouth and nose.”

Ten years later, at age 24, Roa became pregnant again and was again forced to abort her pregnancy six months in. After that, she escaped and has rejoined Colombian society.

Pro-choice or not, any time women like Claudia Roa aren’t allowed dominion over what’s inside their skin, it strips them of their humanity. And when women are stripped of their humanity, all of humanity suffers. So while this topic isn’t exactly sexy or fun, it’s a healthy dose of perspective in a Miley Cyrus Might Be TIME’s Person Of The Year kinda world.


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