With over 1,500 reported femicides in the State of Mexico over the past decade, women are raising awareness with public performances “filled with humanity,” giving victims power and identity beyond their (often unresolved) deaths, while also teaching feminist principles and self-defense.

By Andalusia Knoll Soloff at Broadly.:

All over Mexico, various womens’ groups are using creative theater to combat the scourge of gender-based violence. In Mexico City, the Hijas de Violencia (Daughters of Violence) shoot street harassers with confetti guns and sing punk anthems to denounce sexual harassment. In Puebla, a state where women have been murdered by their boyfriends and partners, the organization El Taller hosts a feminist school to help women identity violence in their personal relationships.

Back at the canal, Diana Laura Lopez rubs glittery makeup on her eyelids, preparing to incarnate one of the assassinated women. Her face is radiant, but her reasons for participating in this performance are somber. “My cousin was assassinated two years ago by her stepfather,” said Lopez, who is from a nearby municipality. “It helps open your eyes, understand your personal situation in a political context.”

Lopez joined with a handful of other young women to participate in activities organized by Redefem Edomex (Network to Denounce Femicide in Mexico State), a civil organization that aims to make femicides visible through “social, cultural and political actions.”

“It’s important to tell these stories in a different way, here in Mexico we have a murderous state,” Redefem Edomex founder Manuel Amador told Broadly. “The state reports on these women’s deaths, just saying there is another dismembered body, or another body dumped in a garbage bag… We don’t hear their stories, so that’s why we have to fill our performance with their humanity.”

This story was originally published on March 25th, 2016.