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News :: Gender
Freedom for Romina Tejerina
03 Jul 2004
Please Help!
A year and a half ago, Romina was raped by Eduardo Vargas. She tried to hide the resulting pregnancy for seven month, even attempting a home abortion. Suffering from post-traumatic stress, she gave birth unaided to a baby girl in her bathroom and subsequently killed the new-born. Her rapist is still free, but Romina is now going to be condemned to life in prison.

“ Everything would have been different for Romina had she been provided with the morning-after pill. Everything would be different for women who suffer the humiliation of rape if society made different provisions for this kind of situation. It is all right for Argentinean women who can afford the money for an abortion, but those with no means are the true sufferers in this issue. Romina is suffering double oppression for being a woman and for being poor ” (Maria Conti, member of Amas de Casa del País, an Argentinean organisation struggling for specific women’s demands related to the needs of women and their families)

For Judge Argentino Juárez, Romina’s rape is irrelevant and does not merit mentioning at her trial. The justice represented by this judge is one that allows the rapist to walk free. Judge Juárez is perhaps unaware that the Inter-American convention on the prevention, punishment and eradication of violence against women ("convention of belem do para") of the Organisation of American States (OAS) states that “ violence against women shall be understood as any act or conduct, based on gender, which causes death or physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, whether in the public or the private sphere.
Juárez has been exercising violence on Romina for a year now by taking all this time to decide on her legal situation and preventing her from receiving psychological treatment for 9 months. He has also enforced a limited and humiliating regime of visits in prison, where Romina has to put up with constant verbal abuse from prison staff.

In a country where the average number of births per year is 650.000, between 335.000 and 400.000 abortions are reportedly carried out resulting in 1 in 2 pregnancies not being carried through to the end. Between 30-40% of gynaecology wards in state hospitals are taken up by women suffering from complications derived from home abortions or botched ones. The majority of these women come from the lower strata of society, and this is the main reason why 200.000 women die yearly.

Romina’s case is just an example of what happens when the State turns a blind eye to the suffering of women. It is just an example of what happens when hypocrisy and religion become tangled with the law. And it is this law that the State should enforce properly to make sure that all women have access to the prevention of unwanted pregnancies and to a free and safe abortion system. Romina’s case is about justice. There are many judges of both sexes who cannot bring themselves to understand how difficult a situation it is for women who have been raped or are going through an unwanted pregnancy. Romina is proof that the Argentinean State does not measure justice for the poor and women in a fair way.

My life in Prison
By Romina Tejerina
To all those supporting me, and especially to the Minister of Justice, Armando Berruezo. I feel terrible because what they are doing to me is so unfair. I was sent to prison on 16 April 2003 with no possibility of studying while in here. Judge Argentino Juárez was aware of this. I am feeling quite desperate because I fear that, yet again, I will be denied an operation (urgently directed in order to repair internal damage caused by her home abortion). And all this is because someone took advantage of me on that fateful 1st of August. The only thing I know is that the judge will have a lot to answer for if something happens to me because of my ill health.

As time goes by I feel worse, but I am hopeful that, eventually, everything will go my way. For this confinement is unfair. It is something I never imagined I would go through. It is a nightmare that must end once and for all. There should be equal justice in Argentina for everybody, not only for those with money. Because they are not only ruining my life, but also my family’s life since their future now lays in ruins and hopelessness.

This person who took advantage of me could not possibly have peace of mind. He is a psychopath who only thinks of taking advantage of girls like me, and who has ruined my youth. I feel under pressure and quite controlled by the prison staff. I accept the fact that I am an inmate in prison, but I do not think all this psychological pressure is necessary because it affects me badly. Everyday is a torture because I see the same people and I am hassled by people who, perhaps, are no better than myself. There is a lot of discrimination by prison staff. The only thing I wish for is justice to be made in order for me to be able to go home and for my rapist to rot in prison and go through the same I am going through. This is all I can write about my unfair imprisonment.

Romina needs help.
International mobilisation will help to focus attention on Romina and demand her release.

Organise a mobilisation and hand in a petition supported by Feminist, Human Rights and Civic organisations at the Argentinean embassy in your city or country. On 16 July, the ruling sentencing Romina to life imprisonment will be confirmed.

For more information contact: zula_lauz (at)

This work is in the public domain
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