Mexico registers four disturbing femicides

Men murdered Fernanda, Danna Miriam, Marcela, and Jessica in recent days

Mexico registers four disturbing femicides
Ciudad Juárez became an emblematic femicide case in Mexico and the world - Photo: Marco Ugarte/AP
English 30/08/2020 14:18 Newsroom Mexico City Yazmín Rodríguez, Gabriela Martínez, Fredy Martín Pérez, Javier Rodríguez Actualizada 14:37
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According to Mexican authorities, the country has registered 566 femicides between January and July 2020. In July alone, Mexico registered 101 femicides, the highest number ever registered.

In recent days, the country registered four femicides that outraged and disturbed society.

Fernanda

In Yucatán, 23-year old Fernanda, who was a dance teacher, was murdered by her ex-boyfriend. He shot her dead and then committed suicide.

According to state authorities, the murderer was a 26-year-old man. Through deceits, the criminal took Fernanda to his parents’ home to convince her to rekindle their relationship. When Fernanda refused to get back together with the man, he murdered her. He later climbed to the rooftop and killed himself.

Recommended: What is femicide?

Danna Miriam

Danna Miriam, 16, was murdered and her body burned in Mexicali, Baja California. Video footage shows the moment when three men set her body on fire. The teenager’s body was found in Mexicali on August 22.

Forensic authorities revealed Danna was attacked with a sharp object and wounded in the neck and her skull fractured. Local authorities arrested three suspects in connection with the femicide.

The heinous crime sparked outrage among society; however, the situation intensified after Baja California’s Attorney General, Guillermo Ruiz, commented that the victim “had tattoos everywhere,” seemingly trying to blame the victim.

During a live stream, Guillermo Ruiz said “sadly, a 16-year-old girl, but well, the girl had tattoos everywhere.”

After the questionable statement made by the government official, feminist activist Carolina Barrales warned against a man in power making this type of claims, which promote violence against women.

The activist said that “what he is saying to other men is that they can do whatever they want with women who don’t fulfill gender roles. The message to women who use their bodies is that we have a dubious reputation.”

Recommended: Femicide: Women are being brutally murdered in Mexico

Marcela

Marcela, 14, was tortured, sexually abused, and murdered in Chilón, Chiapas. Authorities found her body in a dumpster. The police arrested a man in connection with the heinous crime.

Feminist organizations in Chiapas denounced the femicide.

The minor lived with her parents in San Antonio, 200 kilometers away from Tuxtla Gutiérrez. The community has registered similar crimes in the past.

Agents from the Indigenous Prosecutor’s Office arrested a man in connection with the femicide. He remains in prison.

A feminist group protested in Chiolón to demand justice for Marcela. They also demanded security for indigenous girls and teenagers in the community.

Jessica

Jessica, 14, went to an internet café on August 24 but she never came back home. Her body was then found in a crop field in San Diego Suchitepec, in the State of Mexico.

Her family and neighbors searched for her and found her body the next day.

Although Jessica’s family found her body by noon, authorities didn’t arrive at the scene until 8:30 pm.
  
The state’s Human Rights Commission launched an investigation and announced it will guarantee justice for the victim and her family.

What is femicide?

The term femicide refers to a specific hate crime that affects girls and women and has become widely used to describe a phenomenon that has prevailed in Mexico for decades.

Femicide is defined as “the gender-based murder of a woman or girl by a man” and was coined by Diana Russell in 1976, during the First International Tribunal on Crimes against Women in Brussels.

In Mexico, the term gained notoriety when it was translated as “feminicidio” by activist Marcela Lagarde. Her translation aimed to differentiate femicide, a hate crime, from the murder of a woman, which is not sparked by misogyny. Lagarde’s translation also emphasizes the gender issue so that people would notice the sexist ideology behind femicide. The translation coined by Lagarde was essential to understand a wave of violence against women in Ciudad Juárez, which started around 1993.

In a broader context, femicide is just one type of violence against women. Moreover, femicide is accompanied by physical violence, sexual abuse, torture, mutilation, sexual slavery, sexual harassment, and other forms of extreme violence.

In Mexico, the majority of femicides were wrongly labeled as “crimes of passion,” which are defined as “a crime committed because of very strong emotional feelings, especially in connection with a sexual relationship.” But once the phenomenon of femicide was explained and the term was coined, activists, authorities, journalists, and society, in general, we're able to understand the gender-based implication behind the brutal killing of women. However, sexism still reigns in countries such as Mexico; for example, after 26-year-old Ingrid Escamilla was murdered by her partner in early 2020, a newspaper titled the article “It was cupid’s fault” and printed a photograph of her skinned and dismembered body on its cover. One of the two newspapers that published the graphic pictures issued a statement where it acknowledged the fact that it had revictimized Ingrid with its words and photographs but did not apologize to the victim’s family.

What is the difference between femicide and homicide?

Femicide is primarily perpetrated by men, it is motivated by misogynistic ideas, and is the result of systematic abuse. In contracts, homicide can be the result of different factors but it does not involve the same gender-related factors behind femicide.

Furthermore, Jill Radford defined femicide as the “misogynous killing of women by men, motivated by hatred, contempt, pleasure, or a sense of ownership of women.”

Femicide in Mexico

In Mexico, Ciudad Juárez became an emblematic femicide case in Mexico and the world. Authorities registered a series of femicides in 1993. The heinous crime was perpetrated against female factory workers, which followed a serial pattern involved extreme violence against women of certain socio-economic characteristics. The cases were never solved and no criminal was ever prosecuted.

The tragic Ciudad Juárez case was followed by hundreds of victims, mainly in the state of Mexico.

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