Goddess of Cuba – Dianelys Alfonso is at the center of the #MeToo movement after publicly accusing José Luis Cortés of sexually assaulting her during their relationship.
Tattoo-spectacled Dianelys was in a relationship with Cortés when she was a vocalist for NG Banda, one of the hottest Cuban bands of the last three decades.
Me Too was founded by Tamara Burke in 2006 to promote social alertness of sexual abuse. It was not until 2017 when Harvey Weinstein was accused of committing rape, and sexual assaults that it began to trend.
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Fast-forward today, #MeToo has trended in northern Nigeria, and Mexico among other countries. Open discussion of violence against women is rare in Cuba. But Alfonso received heavy online support since she spoke against Cortés while on set with video host Alex Otaola. Solidarity hashtags #IBelieveYouGoddess. #YouAreNotAlone and #MeTooInCuba began pouring in from hundreds of Cubans on the island and in Diaspora.
She has also been criticized by some who feel she is speaking out to vilify Cortés and gain more reputation.
The 38-year singer is shocked. “I look at everything happening online and I’m really stunned,” she told the Associated Press. She spoke about the difficulty of coming to terms with happenings online. “I’m just trying to keep getting professional psychological help to deal with everything that’s come at me for having told the truth” Cortés said.
Women’s rights groups are not common in Cuba. Open discussion on sexual violence and domestic abuse is just gaining prominence in the country. Even the “You Are More” and “Evolve,” campaigns created by the government appeared to focus more on physical than sexual abuse.
Facebook support by some Cuban artists and intellectuals has hit 500. They signed an open letter on a Facebook page titled “I Believe You” to voice their support, condemning violence against women.