Colombia – ‘We were taught to see abortion as a one-way ticket to hell’

Salomé Gómez-Upegui describes what it is like for women growing up with a Catholic education and a traditional Colombian family

Sally Palomino
FEB 20, 2022

Colombian writer, Salomé Gómez-Upegui, 28, maintains that if she can be a feminist, anyone can. It was only a few years ago that she couldn’t stand feminists. She saw them as hysterical and best ignored. Now she teaches courses on feminism, and last year published her first book, Feminista por accidente ­(or, Feminist by Accident) which tells how she went from distrusting feminists to joining their ranks. She talks about her Catholic upbringing and life in a very conservative paisa family, the name given to natives of Medellín and its surroundings.

“School curtailed any possibility of being different,” she says. “From that moment onwards, we are under pressure to fit into a box of controllable, perfect women. There was only one way of being, and that was in the mold of the Virgin Mary. We were taught that being submissive and showing no personality or will was the right thing to do.” In Feminist by Accident, she describes how she broke down the barriers that separated her from feminism.