Recent Femicides in Mexico City

March 19, 2020

Gender-based violence against women is an issue that has ingrained itself deeply into Mexican society and culture over decades of inaction from the government. Despite the protests of human rights activists, the government continues to grant impunity to most murderers, rapists, and other criminals that commit violent acts against women. Specifically, most cases of violence against women in Mexico go uninvestigated and unsolved—leaving thousands of women violated without justice (Miguel Vivanco, 2020). The frequency of gender-based violence and the government’s lack of action in addressing the problem demonstrates how basic human rights, equality, and justice for women and girls are far from being achieved in Mexico.

The victims of gender-based violence range from younger girls to older women. As a seven-year-old, Fátima Aldrighett was murdered within the southern region of Mexico City. On February 11, 2020, she was discovered within the confines of an abandoned plastic bag after she was kidnapped and murdered (Ríos Espinosa, 2020). Meanwhile, Ingrid Escamilla was 25 years old when she was found brutally murdered by her boyfriend on February 9, 2020. Ingrid, also a woman from Mexico City, was allegedly murdered, skinned, and disemboweled by her boyfriend (Associated Press, 2020). Both murders have been labeled as femicides, or as sex-based hate crimes.

As previously mentioned, Mexico City is not a stranger to the frequency of femicides, as they have plagued the Mexican capital for many decades. It is important to note that poor and indigenous women are the women who are most affected by gender-based violence. Additionally, a 2019 Mexico City crime report stated that the number of femicides in Mexico City rose to 68 in 2019 from 43 in 2018 (Díaz, 2020). Also, according to data presented by the Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System, at least 1,199 femicides occurred in Mexico from January 1, 2019, to April 30, 2019 (Pereda Martínez, 2020). This figure equates to an average rate of 10 femicides a day in Mexico. This first quarter of 2019 was the most violent for Mexican women, but steady rates persisted throughout 2019 (Pereda Martínez, 2020). These femicide rates demonstrate the capacity of violence against women to persist and multiply at alarming rates without government and legal intervention.

Nonetheless, the murders of Aldrighett and Escamilla have emphasized the suffering that comes from diminishing and ignoring the problem of gender-based violence in Mexico. Specifically, many Mexicans and activists condemn President Andrés Manuel López Obrador for his lack of action against the violence. In an article by the New York Times, Xóchitl Rodríguez, a representative from the feminist activist organization, Feminasty, details her frustrations with President López Obrador. Rodríguez describes how President López Obrador "was supposed to represent a change and it turns out that he is not...The fact that you wake up in the morning and your president cannot reassure you on what specific actions he is taking to deal with the issue is outrageous" (Semple and Villegas, 2020). This statement reflects the sentiments of many Mexicans regarding how their government has not addressed the increasing rate of femicides.

The persistent cases of femicide in Mexico reflect a system that does not protect or prioritize women. Laws targeting violence against women have been passed in both Mexico and 18 other Latin American countries facing a similar problem of gender-based violence. For example, Bolivia established the first law that specifically targets violence against women in politics. However, despite these efforts, Mexico and its peers have not experienced a significant reduction in the rate of femicides. The persistence of gender-based violence and deaths suggest a normalization and even a silent acceptance of gendered violence in Mexico. 

 

REFERENCES

  1. Paulina Villegas, Kirk Semple. (February 19, 2020). "The Grisly Deaths of a Woman and a Girl Shock Mexico and Test Its President". The New York Times.
  2. Alicia Pereda Martinez. (February 6, 2019). "10 women are murdered in Mexico every day".
  3. Veronica Díaz. (February 20, 2020). "Feminicidio en CdMx aumentó 60 por ciento en un año".
  4. Associated Press. (February 17, 2020). "Killing of 7-year-old girl stokes anger in Mexico".
  5. Carlos Ríos Espinosa. (February 19, 2020). "Mental Health Unfairly Raised After A Child Murder in Mexico". Human Rights Watch.
  6. Femicide Watch. (March 27, 2020). "The must-knows on femicide".

About Author(s)

Carley Clontz
Carley is an undergraduate senior at the University of Pittsburgh. She is studying Economics, Spanish, French, Global Studies, and Latin American Studies. Through academic and research programs, Carley has traveled to Mexico, Peru, and Bolivia. Her articles focus on human rights violations, economic and political developments, and systemic violence.