Let’s celebrate all those who fight for justice
Ingrid Escamilla’s body was found lifeless spread around the streets of Mexico City in February of this year, the man she lived with, had stabbed her, skinned her and removed her organs. Days later the seven-years-old Fátima Cecilia was taken from the school gates, sexually abused and murdered. According to Mexico’s attorney general, Alejandro Gertz, femicide rates have increased by 137% in the past five years (CNN 2020). Meaning that approximately 10 women are murdered every day, usually showing signs of sexual abuse. To the convenience of many, these cases are rarely prosecuted. Mexican president, Andres Manuel López Obrador declared in one of his daily morning conferences that the rising numbers of femicides showed by the media were a political strategy of opposing parties to pervert the government’s image and his own.
Gender-based violence has become the norm, numbers have only gone up and, the people are asking for solutions. The 8th of March, more than 80 thousand women mobilised in the streets of the Capital to raise the voice for those who can’t anymore, to protest against the government inaction and against the patriarchal values and institutions that rule the country (Aljazeera 2020). Heroic and patriotic monuments were graffitied with words of protest, many of them were destroyed, government buildings were ‘vandalised’, newspaper’s buses were burnt down. The streets were full of the dancing and shouting of those who are done living in fear. Some of these manifestations ended up in clashes of the feminist rioters with the police, and the protesters faced some violent acts from civilians who disagreed with the protest as well.
On March 9th, millions of women around the country, in protest against gender violence skipped all daily activities: they didn’t go out of their house (El Universal 2020), didn’t use social media, missed work and didn’t participate in any kind of economic activity. The world kept going without them; they showed how the victim could be any of them if things don’t change.
On the beginning of last month, the 3rd of September, relatives of victims of abuse and murder had a meeting with the President of the Human Rights Commission (CNDH), Rosario Ibarra to try and come up with solutions for their grievances. CNDH authorities remained indifferent. After seeing no progress, Marcela Alemán, the mother of a sexually abused child, tied herself to a chair and refused to leave until the institution would come with a solution (WP 2020). Feminist groups like ‘Ni Una Menos’ (Not one less) and ‘El Bloque Negro’ (The Black Block) joined her and took over the building. The feminist collectives got a lot of support from the outside and turned the building into a shelter for violence victims and their relatives. Feminist started funding their stay in the shelter by mending the portraits of male historic figures with the anarchy symbols “AGAB” and some makeup. Dialoguing with the government now is off the table, justice seems really far to achieve, “victims now rely on victims because you cannot rely on the government” said a member of one of the feminist collectives.
The president has only shown his disapproval of these ‘violent acts’ commited feminist groups and lied about the ‘decreasing number of femicides’, others have shown disgust for the means by which women have voiced their concerns. Very ironical to see people concerned about a couple of walls being graffitied on and some empty buses burnt down, not about the number of women being abused and killed every day. However, it seems that these means succeed in making people’s eyes roll this way. The government is nothing but an accomplice for the damage caused to all victims, because they are not on our side and they have proved it.
This movement is for everyone. We condemn the state and governors, we condemn its institutions, we condemn the people who value more a graffitied wall than human life, we condemn those who protect the murderers and the rapists, we condemn the normalisation of violence, we condemn hate, and we mainly condemn those who remain indifferent, because what happens if one day I don’t come back home anymore? The feminist will burn the city down.
All pictures taken by Mariana Alonso Riquelme
Aljazeera (2020). “Millions of women in Mexico expected to strike over femicides”. March 9: 20. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/3/9/millions-of-women-in-mexico-expected-to-strike-over-femicides
CNN (2020). “Mexico imagines a world without women, in strike against gender violence”. March 9: 20.
El Universal (2020). “Minuto a minuto. Marcha por el Día Internacional de la Mujer”. March 8: 20.
The Washington Post (2020) “La toma de la CNDH en México, vista desde adentro”. September 14: 20.
Animal Político (2020) “Feministas se quedan en la CNDH, dicen que seguirán recibiendo a madres de víctimas” September 18: 20. https://www.animalpolitico.com/2020/09/feministas-quedan-cndh-seguiran-recibiendo-madres-victimas/