Rosa Elvira, 35, was found at around 5am after she called the emergency line in a park at the heart of Bogota, Colombia. She was still alive when she was taken at around 7am to the hospital. She was raped, stabbed, strangled, and her guts were destroyed by branches that were forced through her vagina and anus.


This happened in 2012. It is because of this horrific episode that we now have a law of feminicides in Colombia. However, there is still a long way to fight violence against women.


Besides publishing our special report about violence against women in Colombia we also wanted to make a tribute to Rosa Elvira Cely, so we built a large mosaic of hers.




What is special about this mosaic is that is built up with the numbers of those women that were killed during 2017 in Colombia, only because they are women. We used these numbers (that we collected manually thanks to Sandra Suárez) to make different charts (using ggplot) to tell the different stories of feminicides in Colombia, we explored when they were killed, who killed them and how.


You can check this repo on github if you want to know more about the technical details. But what we loved about this work was that we ended up having more impact moving our report beyond the digital space.


We partnered with a local NGO Fundación Maisa ( and made an intervention in the very same park where Rosa Elvira was killed. During the intervention in public space, kids, men and women explored the data on feminicides with a different perspective: the used physical materials to understand the stories behind the numbers.


Not only were we able to explore this issue with the participants and passersby, but also 20.000 signatures (collected by Fundación Maisa) of women demanding better measures to protect them were handed to the Human Rights deputy in the Ministry of Interior in Colombia.



We are happy with these first results, but there is a long way ahead and many other problems to tackle. Luckily with a bit of data, code and civic action we have new mechanisms to push for social change.


Let's just hope more #rstats nerds out there join these initiatives!


Pro Tip:


You can use such Mosaics as entry tickets for your events. Each individual image or group of images must be the same size so that they form a perfect grid that is drawn on the wall. The tickets are labeled on the back with the corresponding row (letters) and column (number) in the grid.

The participants will place their "entry ticket" in the corresponding square in the wall. Watch how your audience reacts when the lines and bar graphs come to live to reveal a known image.