Rape is being used as a weapon in Mexico against women and girls protesting femicide and other gender violence . Women who dress in black or cover their faces – even as a hygiene measure against COVID-19 infection – are viewed as suspect.
Femicide in Mexico
The World Health Organization defines femicide as the intentional murder of women because they are women.
Nearly 3500 femicides were committed in Mexico in 2019 alone . Approximately 10 women are killed everyday by strangulation, suffocation, stabbing, and drowning. Some 93% of crimes are either not reported or not investigated.
The inaction of Mexico toward this situation has drawn criticism from around the world.
Women taking part in protests have been demonized by the media. In this way, authorities have undermined the legitimacy of protest. To further assure that women know their place, law enforcement uses violence to punish women who dare to take to the streets.
Human Rights Violations
More than two years after a judgment in the case of Women Victims of Sexual Torture in Atenco v. Mexico by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Mexico has made little progress in preventing human rights violations against women demonstrators.
According to Amnesty International, police regularly employ illegal detention and excess force, including sexual violence .
- Demonstrators may be clubbed, beaten, or dragged bodily by police.
- Police fail to identify themselves to demonstrators, or advise them of the reasons for their arrest.
- Demonstrators are transported without information as to their destination, and subjected to solitary confinement.
- Verbal abuse, comments of a sexual nature, threats of sexual violence, and outright rape are all tactics used to intimidate arrested demonstrators.
- Necessary medical attention is often not provided. When it is provided, medical exams are performed without consent, in the presence of persons who are not health professionals.
Authorities can justifiably impose restrictions to prevent damage to public and private property by protesters.
According to international human rights law, however, painting slogans or symbols, targeting monuments, and breaking windows are protected by the right of free assembly unless there is widespread and serious violence likely to cause injury or death.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men and women are created equal.”
-Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1848)
March is Women’s History Month . The suffrage movement in the US began at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 . In Mexico, it began during the Mexican Revolution at the First Feminist Congress of the Yucatan in 1916 .
But the struggle for equality goes on.
 NBC News, “Mexican women have been physically, sexually abused for participating in protests” by By Albinson Linares of Noticias Telemundo, 3/10/21, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/mexico-women-physically-sexually-abused-participating-protests-rcna373.
 Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), “Femicides in Mexico: Impunity and Protests” by Linnea Sandin, 3/19/20, https://www.csis.org/analysis/femicides-mexico-impunity-and-protests.
 Amnesty International, “Mexico: The (R)age of Women: Stigma and Violence Against Women Protesters”, 3/3/21, https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/amr41/3724/2021/en/.
 Amnesty International, “Mexico: The (R)age of Women – Stigma and Violence and Against Women Protesters”, February 2021, https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/AMR4137242021ENGLISH.PDF.
 People Magazine, “Women’s History Month: How It Started, Why We Celebrate in March and More Questions Answered” by Andrea Wurzburger, 3/8/21, https://people.com/human-interest/womens-history-month-facts-explainer/.
 History, “Women’s Suffrage”, 2/23/21, https://www.history.com/topics/womens-history/the-fight-for-womens-suffrage.
 Gobierno de Mexico, “63rd anniversary of women’s suffrage in Mexico”, 10/18/16, https://www.gob.mx/sre/articulos/63rd-anniversary-of-women-s-suffrage-in-mexico.
Rape is being used as a weapon of war in Ethiopia. Women are being gang raped. One woman’s vagina was crammed with nails, stones, and plastic debris.
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