Mexico ignores femicides
A woman performs the song 'A rapist in your path' during a demonstration against gender violence at Angel de la Independencia monument in Mexico City – Photo: Edgard Garrido/REUTERS

Mexico ignores femicides

14/12/2019
10:07
Mexico City
Adriana Varillas
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From January to October 2019, over 3,000 women were murdered in Mexico, however, only 809 cases were registered as femicides

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Contradictory information, an incorrect typification of femicide to hide it or disguise it as “violent death” or “intentional homicide,” are the general omission in which Mexico’s government incurs and that impede to know the actual number of murdered women in the country, warned Amnesty International.

In Cancún, the head of the Human Rights Unit of that organization, Edith Olivares Ferreto, said that “lack of transparency in the numbers” make it impossible to know the exact dimensions of the problem, however, it is on the rise for the number has increased to 10 women murdered every day; in addition, the ways in which they are killed are increasingly cruel and violent.

“In all the states, impunity numbers are very high in terms of femicide; almost no states are investigating women’s violent deaths as femicides. The number of investigation files due to femicide has increased, there is a trend to investigate it as femicide, but not to punish it,” she expressed.

Did you know Mexico pledged to eradicate violence against women amid alarming femicide rates?

According to the Crime Index of the National Executive Ministry, from January to October 2019, 809 femicides have been registered in Mexico.

Nevertheless, the number of killed women is much higher but it is hiding as intentional homicide or “violent deaths” due to the inability or resistance of state prosecutors to investigate, typify, and consign the murder of women as femicide, even when it matches the crime types.

“Almost 10 women are murdered every day in the country. Until now, over 700 femicides have been registered throughout the country; that means that from a great number of women’s murders, that is, 3,660 last year – only 700 investigation files were opened for femicide,” she expressed, emphasizing that in the last eight years, over 25,000 women have been murdered in Mexico.

How to identify violence against women?

Olivares Ferreto also mentioned that a researched by the last name of Torreblanca found out that at least a third part of the cases declared as “violent death” and “intentional homicide” against women are probable femicides.

“She analyzed the number of murders of women given by INEGI from death certificates. A medical examiner drafts a certificate when a person dies. That doctor says ‘it seems as though this person was murdered’ and that is the information we call ‘feminine deaths with presumption of femicide’ (…)

“What Torreblanca does it to analyze in how many of those certificates the alleged perpetrator was the victim’s couple; in how many we find that the doctor registered there were antecedents of domestic violence; in how much sexual violence was registered; in how many the victim’s body was found inside her home and with that information she has found out that approximately 34% of all the murdered women could be classified as femicides” she explained in an interview.

Do you know who are the collateral victims of femicide?

One of the obstacles with that information is when the doctors do not complete all the information in the death certificate, she added.

“What we have is a great information loophole. We don’t the number of femicides in Mexico because the State does not give us reliable numbers. There are differences in the sources. One source is INEGI, which is based on death certificates, and the other is the Crime Index based on the investigation files reported by state prosecutors,” she added.

Have you heard sex crimes are on the rise in Mexico?

It’s not a crime of passion, it’s femicide
Oftentimes, to avoid the investigation of women’s murders as femicide, authorities classify them as “crimes of passion” and justify the crime in an inadequate, stigmatizing, and discriminatory way.

“’Crime of passion’ is not a crime; it’s a way to call a crime that is murder. What we have pointed out is that this kind of crimes are called femicide. Women are not killed out of passion; women are killed out of hate.

“No one kills a person because they feel ‘passionate’ or at least that passion is not positive. And it has a name in the criminal code, in the 33 criminal codes of the country it is called femicide; it’s not a crime of passion; it’s a hate crime,” asserted the activist, who highlighted that when authorities and society use this name they legitimize violence against women by blaming men’s hates and jealousy as a reason to kill women.

What happens to women displaced by violence?

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