Protester holding sign which reads: “Don’t Kill Us!”
Photo: ROCIO VAZQUEZ/AFP via Getty Image
WARNING: Graphic Images
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. Continue reading
WARNING: Graphic Images
Incest, the least reported form of sexual abuse, exists worldwide. Even when incest is disclosed to other family members, a family may want to keep the abuse secret from society at large, in the name of so called “honor”. There can, also, be governmental reluctance to investigate matters considered of a highly personal nature.
This leaves victims without recourse.
Pakistan – Human Rights Violations
Pakistan is just one country where these factors come into play . The UN estimates that 36% of girls and 29% of boys in Pakistan experience sexual abuse. An estimated 90% of street children have been sexually abused .
The situation is complicated by the fact that women have so little power over their own lives, and so few options other than staying in an abusive marriage. Mothers are, in effect, as trapped as their children.
Despite this (or because of it), both mothers and fathers have been known to participate in honor killings.
As long ago as 1989, Zein and Maria Isa, a Pakistani couple living in St. Louis, jointly murdered their daughter, a high school senior, for taking a part-time job at Wendy’s, and dating a boy of whom they did not approve . Though the couple claimed Tina had attacked them, this was proven untrue when it was revealed the murder had been recorded. Zein Isa had been under surveillance as a possible terrorist, and a listening device installed in the couple’s home.
Little has changed in Pakistan. Earlier this month, 18 y.o. Zeenat Rafique was tied to a bed, then set afire by her mother and brother . Zeenat’s crime was that she had married without her family’s permission. Continue reading