Mexico pledges to eradicate violence against women amid alarming femicide rates

Between January and October 2019, at least 809 women were killed because of their gender

Mexico pledges to eradicate violence against women amid alarming femicide rates
On November 25, Mexican women took the streets to protests against femicide and all forms of violence against women - Photo: Henry Romero/REUTERS
English 26/11/2019 12:50 Reuters Mexico City Óscar López Actualizada 12:50
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On November 25, on the eve of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the Mexican government vowed to eradicate gender-based violence as new figures showed femicide increased by 10% in 2019.

To mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Mexico detailed its efforts to fight gender violence, including training police from a gender perspective and promoting national awareness campaigns against gender-based violence.

“The issue (of violence against women) is a priority for the government without a doubt,” Interior Minister Olga Sánchez Cordero told a news conference, adding that “We want to make a commitment today of zero tolerance as a priority issue.”

Violence against women, femicide, sexual harassment, and abuse persist in Mexico, a conservative, mostly Catholic country where sexism and misogyny reign, and where traditional concepts of gender are deeply entrenched.

Feminists protest against gender violence in Mexico City

Official numbers released on Monday show that femicide increased by more than 10% in 2019, with 809 women killed between January and October 2019 because of their gender, compared with 726 in the same period in 2019.

According to the World Health Organization, “Femicide is generally understood to involve intentional murder of women because they are women, but broader definitions include any killings of women or girls.” In Mexico, it became a federal crime since 2012.

A 2017 report by the National Institute for Statistics and Geography (INEGI) found that about 66% of women over 15 had experienced some type of violence at least once and 44% had been abused by a partner.

On Monday, Security Minister Alfonso Durazo said almost 125,000 women had been victims of violence in Mexico in 2019.

Durazo said that the government had ramped up gender training among security forces, including the National Guard which is now comprised of nearly 17% women. This is a step in the right direction as armed forces and police officers have been accused of torturing and abusing women during previous administrations.

9 out of 10 people arrested by Mexican authorities are tortured

The Security Minister said he would sign a memorandum with United Nations Women, vowing to “strengthen actions against gender-based violence”.

Mexico City mayor Claudia Sheinbaum noted that the city declared a “gender violence alert” last week, a national program funding local governments to facilitate arrests and lower murder rates.

The alert system, launched in 2007, is typically activated during spikes in violence against women. Other 18 Mexican states have also declared the alert.

In recent months, there have been several feminist protests in the capital, after local media reported that two teenage girls had apparently been raped by policemen.

Sheinbaum said local authorities will take actions including registering sex offenders with DNA evidence and fighting violence against women online, including revenge porn.

Sex crimes are on the rise in Mexico


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