Underprosecuted Femicide Plaguing Mexico

By ANNA ROSSI

Many have heard about the missing students from Ayotzinapa, yet few talk about another horrifying event that is currently taking place in Mexico—the almost daily abuse and murder of women. Also two-thirds of Mexican women have been victims of male violence, with a significant number of these abuses resulting in death. Most of the female victims are killed by male acquaintances, that is, their relatives, husbands, boyfriends, or ex-boyfriends. Their bodies are often found battered or mutilated and dumped somewhere, often with trash or waste. These murders happens so regularly, with an average of six women being killed per day, that experts have called this femicide: the intentional massacre of girls and women.

What is almost more unnerving is that the male perpetrators are rarely held accountable in a court of law, so that men know that whatever crime they commit against women they will get away with. In 2012 and 2013, of the 3,892 murders against women committed, only 934—that is, 24%—were investigated by law enforcement. Only 1.6% of the cases actually led to an arrest and sentencing, so only 62 women killed out of the several thousand received some form of justice.

In 2007, Mexican legislature passed the General Law of Access for Women to a Life Free From Violence, an act which establishes two main principles: the first grants police and judicial intervention in domestic violence situations. The second, the Declaration of Gender Violence, declares a set of actions intended to abolish femicide in a certain state or territory (CEDAW Report). Despite these promising efforts, femicide rates are still increasing since the implementation. The national president Enrique Peña Nieto is not doing much to help the pandemic. While he has spoken out about combating drugs and drug violence, he has remained silent on the issue of femicide. So long as there are no repercussions for these violent acts and sexism is embedded in society, men will continue to murder women at exorbitant rates.

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