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How gender-based violence has become a reality in Mexico

Protests have erupted around Mexico demanding justice for the victims of femicides and gender violence.

How gender-based violence has become a reality in Mexico
people walking on street during daytime
Political science student in Mexico and intersectional feminist who has something to say.

Last month, feminist activists and collectives seized the Mexican National Commission For Human Rights located in the downtown area. This was a protest towards government authorities and their unresponsiveness dealing with the feminicides occurring every day in our country.

This event was part of a wave of protests all around the country against state impunity, demanding justice for the victims of feminicides and gender violence. A feminicide is defined as the violent death of a woman simply because of their gender, typified in the penal system as the most extreme form of violence towards a woman.

However, the majority of them go unpunished and forgotten by police and state officials.

This year, between January and June, 489 feminicides were registered according to data from the Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System (SESNSP) which itself has been exposed in the past for providing incomplete data. That means that not even during a global pandemic in which many of us stayed inside for quite some time, we were actually safe.

In the state of Sonora, Ana Paola, a 13-year-old little girl with dreams of becoming a dancer was sexually assaulted, beaten, and brutally murdered in her own home while her parents went to the supermarket during the COVID-19 quarantine. Hundreds of cases like Ana's go unseen, excused or dismissed by authorities. This is due to "lack of evidence", or sexist prejudices like the feminicide of Danna, a 16-year-old in Mexicali who was murdered and burnt.

The State Attorney General victim-blamed the deceased, saying it was "very sad. They blamed Danna's tattoos, stating residents "must be very careful of our youth and not let them fall into a life of delinquency."

On social media, I've had to deal with trolls minimizing the problem with comments regarding protests stating "those aren't the correct ways to protest", making fun of gruesome murders, joking and comparing the pictures of the corpse with ground meat, victim-blaming, accusing women of being delicate or provocative to assault and just over all trying to discredit the movement.

The things happening in this country are truly atrocities. Girls being raped by policemen, boyfriends butchering their girlfriends because they are pregnant, teachers molesting students and harassing them publicly in classrooms, women being strangled on campus in their ow university because of jealous classmates.

People seem to forget the majority of violent cases towards women were men they already knew and trusted. The most important thing for our president Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador? The mega-projects and austerity measures to adorn his party. A fucking train is of more importance than the lives of hundreds of Mexican women.

It's truly frustrating to read or hear about women disappearing and reappearing dead every day all around you. To hear mothers imploring government officials to please find their little girl. To see your friends go missing and the police telling you "she probably ran off with her boyfriend" only to find out they were in a bag, lifeless, and abandoned in the middle of nowhere.

But most of all, it is even harder and more heartbreaking to discover most men don't think it's a big deal.

We must remember their names, and demand justice. As feminists, we must continue fighting for our lives- quite literally- whatever it takes, until Mexico finally realizes that there is something very wrong with its people. I am a university student, and being a woman in a feminicide state, I fear for my life, but find strength when I hear my fellow feminists taking action and chanting "no estás sola" (you aren't alone).

I hope one day my country finds peace and women are no longer murdered for their gender and we can live freely, rather than survive.

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