Een wraakzuchtige Maria. Boliviaanse vrouwen over lijden en woede door huiselijk geweld.


  • Sanne Derks
  • Meike Heessels


Scholarly research on domestic violence in Latin America often relates to dominant notions of masculinity and femininity: machismo and marianismo. Within this gender paradigm women are said to embrace the values of the Virgin Mary as a passive submissive role model. Up to this moment, these studies ignored the question whether women indeed refer to Mary as a symbol that encourages them to endure gender-related suffering. Therefore, this article analyses Bolivian women’s experiences of domestic violence in relation to their interpretations of the Virgin of Urkupiña in Quillacollo, Bolivia. Although the stories of these female pilgrims are full of suffering, we argue that they do not merely accept their suffering in marianistic terms. Rather, rage, or rabia, seems to be a central concept in their religious experiences. Women approach the Virgin of Urkupiña to transfer their rage and to ask for intervention in situations of domestic violence. The Virgin of Urkupiña is thus not only venerated for her capacity to endure suffering, but is also perceived as a powerful and vicious goddess of vengeance.