Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Mexico City calling for justice for two teenage girls who were allegedly raped by police officers.
The first case involves a 17-year-old girl who said four policemen raped her in their patrol car in Azcapotzalco, in the Mexican capital’s north, on 3 August.
The saga has sparked outrage after the city lawyer, Ernestina Godoy, last week admitted the officers have yet to have been charged because officials are waiting for the victim to identify the perpetrators.
In the other case, just six days later, a 16-year-old girl said a policeman raped her in a museum in the city centre. A policeman was arrested on Thursday.
Around 300 protesters, who were predominantly women, descended on the city’s security headquarters and the capital’s prosecutor’s office on Monday. They voiced their anger at the two recent cases – shouting “justice” and “they don’t protect us, they rape us” at officers.
The demonstrators, equipped with pink glitter and spray paint, advanced on the prosecutor’s office and smashed its door and left a pig’s head outside.
Mexico’s security minister Jesus Orta Martínez was enveloped in pink glitter when he tried to reassure the women both cases would be properly investigated.
Claudia Sheinbaum, Mexico City’s first elected female mayor, branded the demonstration a “provocation”. At a press conference, she said the authorities would carry out justice but labelled the demonstrators provocateurs.
She said: “We are not going to fall for any provocation, this was a provocation. They wanted the government to use violent methods and in no way will we fall for it. There will be an investigation and the prosecutors’ office will resolve it”.
Ms Sheinbaum said “due to the seriousness of the case“ the Human Rights Commission of Mexico City would be involved in the investigation.
Violence against women is prevalent in Mexico – according to United Nations figures, an average of nine women are believed to be murdered every day.
According to the Mexican Institute of Statistics and Geography, 44 per cent of women have suffered violence from a partner and 66 per cent of women have experienced some form of violence during their life.
The country’s criminal code specifically references femicides – defining the crime as one “that deprives a woman of her life for gendered reasons” and citing evidence of it as including signs of sexual violence, “degrading” injuries, a history of violence at home, work or school.
In October 2018, Mexicans were left shocked by news of a couple who admitted to having murdered more than 20 women in Ecatepec, a suburb northeast of Mexico City. This case thrust the subject of femicide into the national spotlight once again – with local media branding the couple the “monsters of Ecatepec”.
Femicide is defined around the world as the deliberate killing of a woman or girl because of their gender. The United Nations notes these gender-related murders may come after other violent acts including domestic abuse – describing the climate in Latin America as one of “high tolerance” towards such “normalised” attacks.
According to the United Nations, Latin America has the world’s highest rates of femicide.
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