14 | NOV | 2019
Impunity: Sexual abuse and harassment plague Mexico City
In Mexico, at least 9 women are murdered every day - Photo: Jaime Puebla/AP

Impunity: Sexual abuse and harassment plague Mexico City

10/04/2019
09:32
Mexico City
Editorial
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For women, filing a lawsuit at the Public Prosecutor's Office is agony because there are blamed, shamed, and humiliated

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When women file lawsuits after being sexually abused or harassed, is it actually useful? The truth is it is not very useful since officials from the Public Prosecutor's Office are usually the first to dismiss their claims and block the victims from obtaining justice.

According to numbers released by EL UNIVERSAL today, obtained from Mexico City's Digital Innovation Agency, from 2016 to 2018, at least 8 investigations for sexual aggressions were launched in Mexico City every day.

But there are times when the numbers increase exponentially. For example, on October 1, 2018, 23 sexual crimes were reported that day; nevertheless, the number was surpassed two months later, when 24 sexual crimes were reported on December 5, 2018.

Nevertheless, these numbers might be far from reality. The Association for the Integral Development of Abused People (Adivac) says it welcomes at least 100 rape victims every week, but only 15% of them have filed lawsuits.

The main reason why women don't denounce their abusers is that filing a lawsuit at the Public Prosecutor's Office is an agony.

Public Prosecutors don't believe the victims, who most of the time consider that rape took place as a response for something the woman did or even worse, the result of a “provocation.” Bureaucrats fill up forms and paperwork but show no interest in solving the cases. Gender perspective does not exist at the Public Prosecutor's Office. Instead, the victim is blamed. 

Authorities need to change their attitude, moreover, the first place where sexism should be eradicated are government offices.

The #MeToo movement, which recently took Mexican social media by storm, is a response to the lack of support from officials, the fact that most of the cases are not investigated, and the re-victimization of the victims once they file complaints at the Public Prosecutor's Office.

Until now, official institutions are not trustworthy and in the private sector, they are implementing protocols in recent times.

After women have taken the streets to protest sexual harassment and femicide, a large sector of society has finally become aware of the seriousness of sexual abuse and harassment, especially at work. Authorities have to fulfill its job so that aggressions against women are not deemed as “normal” and to end with misogyny and violence against women.

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