Silence of Dawn documents the plight of Venezuelan women in Lima, Peru, who are waging a daily fight against economic, social and gender discrimination. 

Prompted by the collapse of the government and a growing humanitarian crisis at home, more than a million Venezuelans have fled to Peru since 2016*. More than eighty percent of them settled in the capital, Lima, where seeking out the means to survive they often work menial jobs and are forced to contend with local prejudices. Venezuelan women, displaced and vulnerable, face particular hardships, including chronic sexual harassment, are often viewed as prostitutes, endure constant discrimination in the workplace and daily xenophobia. 

 Begun in January 2020, and assisted by local immigration and public policy experts, the UN Refugee office and local human rights NGOs, Silence of Dawn includes colour photographs of women between the ages of 20 and 60, and captions of more than fifteen interviews. 

 As women have historically endured and “kept silent” in the face of abuse and trauma, this project has been an active collaboration with the women involved: portrait-making within their personal spaces, the creation of images of objects of sentimental value, and psychological symbolism that tell real life stories of adversity, resilience, melancholy and sisterhood within the female world of migration. 

 Because our treatment of immigration and dislocation is a measure of our society, the project hopes to serve for a future school curriculum and testament to these women’s identity beyond the stereotypes of Migrant, Refugee, and Sexual Object. 

 *UNHCR/ACNUR, Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela

*    *    *

Using Format