Last Friday, about 70 women gathered near the National Palace in Mexico City, seat of the Executive Power and residence of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, to demonstrate against the “indifference” of the state to the high rate of femicides in the country.
“We are not one; we are not a hundred, f***** government, count us well,” shouted the women, tired of murders like that of young Ingrid Escamilla, which was made public last weekend.
At 25, Escamilla lost her life after being stabbed to death by her partner, who subsequently mutilated her body in an attempt to hide the crime, according to crude images and videos reported by the national media.
The contrast between the yellowness of the media and the perpetuation of the epidemic of gender violence in Mexico — where around 100 people die every day, 10 of them women — has been the straw that broke the camel’s back and led dozens of people to demand answers from the government.
“I’m afraid to go out in the street alone. In Mexico, violence against women has been normalized,” said Jocelyn, a 21-year-old education student who participated in Friday’s march in Mexico City, to Agencia Efe.
“I am here to ask for justice for all the victims of violence,” Erika Martínez, 41, told the daily El País. “Also for my daughter who was abused at the age of seven by my partner’s brother, who is 43. He’s walking free, and we’re still asking for a conviction.”
The government opened the doors of the National Palace a few minutes after 10 a.m. for a group of women to meet with Leticia Ramírez, in charge of Citizen Services for the Presidency, according to the Spanish media.
President López Obrador tried to reconcile the situation through a statement to the media that did not convince most of the protesters.
“Out of conviction, out of principle, I am against femicide. It is unacceptable, abhorrent, it is something that cannot be allowed, that is why we work every day,” the president responded to questions from the press. “I hope with all my heart that violence will be reduced and that women will not be attacked.”
However, according to figures from the United Nations in Mexico, the epidemic of female deaths with presumed homicide in the country has increased exponentially in recent years, with almost 4,000 women killed by 2019.
Several civil organizations in the country “believe that the number is higher, given that these crimes are not always reported or classified as femicide,” reported the BBC.
The media refers to the decision by Alejandro Gertz Manero, the head of the Attorney General’s Office, to abolish the crime of femicide in 2012 and replace it with aggravated homicide, which carries a penalty of between 40 and 70 years, explained Univisión.
This decision, however, has been strongly contested by specialists and international organizations, such as the Committee of Experts of the Follow-up Mechanism of the Convention of Belém do Pará, cited by the Human Rights Commission in its report on the femicide index in Mexico, which explained how the classification of violent deaths of women “allows the maximum expression of gender-based violence to be made visible and to prioritize its consideration in order to combat it.”
The organization added that the correct classification of the crime “favors society’s awareness of the consequences of unequal power relations between men and women, which also allows for its recording and statistical and comparative analysis.”
In other words, while the Mexican government continues to refuse to call a spade a spade, the media has a field day with the images and the women continue to die in the streets.