Gang members in one of Colombia’s most violent cities face an ultimatum: give up guns or give up sex. In what is being called a “strike of crossed legs”, supported by the Pereira mayor’s office, the wives and girlfriends of gang members have said they will not have sex with their partners until they vow to give up violence.
“We want them to know that violence is not sexy,” said Jennifer Bayer, 18, the girlfriend of a gang member. She and at least two dozen other women have said the sex strike will continue until their men hand over their weapons to authorities and sign up for vocational training offered by the mayor’s office.
The women yesterday launched a rap song that will become the strike’s anthem. “As women we are worth a lot. We don’t want to fall for violent men because with them we lose too much,” Ms Bayer sang down the telephone to the Guardian.
She said the men had laughed about the strike but would soon see it was serious. The women were not worried that frustration would lead to violence against them by their partners. “They wouldn’t do that to us,” Ms Bayer said.
The city’s security secretary, Julio César Gómez, said surveys of gang members showed that their favourite activity was having sex and their membership of gangs was more about power and sexual seduction than money.
Pereira, a city of 300,000 people, has Colombia’s highest murder rate at 97 per 100,000 inhabitants.