Image Credit: Gladys Serrano & Keila Figueroa
Mexico has been under controversy due to the lack of action in addressing femicide. According to recent statistics, within the first few months of 2019, roughly 1,199 cases of femicide or homicide were recorded; that’s about 10 women who are murdered every day in Mexico.* Ingrid Escamilla (25 years-old), Marbella Valdez (20 years-old), and Fatima Aldrighett (7 years-old) are the three latest victims of femicide. Mexican citizens are outraged by the brutal killings that have occurred in the last few days and hundreds have protested demanding immediate action to be taken to stop femicide. Especially after the President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, blamed the recent deaths to neoliberalism. He also stated in a press conference that “There’s been a lot of manipulation of femicide … the media is telling a lot of lies”.** Mexican women throughout the past weeks have organized themselves to make their voices heard in the streets, and the event “Un Día Sin Nosotras” (A Day Without Us [Women]) was created Brujas Del Mar and aimed for women to manifest nationally on March 9, 2020. This event is for women to abstain from participating in any of their daily activities, such as attending school or going to work. The purpose of this event is to draw massive attention for action to be taken to the ongoing femicides -- the violence women are facing a due to their gender and the constant sexual harassment.
Ingrid Escamilla was brutally killed and mutilated, her body was found skinned and missing some of her organs. She was murdered by her partner. The situation became more intense after newspapers in Mexico published a picture of Ingrid’s corpse on the front pages. La Prensa was one of the newspapers that published the images and with the headline of “It was cupid’s fault”.*** Protesters vandalized several of La Prensa vehicles in response to the dehumanization Ingrid suffered.
Fatima, the young innocent girl who went missing on February 11, 2020, was picked up from school by an unidentified woman. Fatima’s body was later found in a bag near a rural area. She suffered sexual abuse and was so severely beaten that her body had to be identified through genetic testing.****There have been two suspects identified thanks to tips provided by locals and video surveillance. Relatives have criticized the authorities in the way they handled Fatima’s case. Locals and people from all over the world continue to mourn the death of Fatima.
Marbella was reported missing on February 5, 2020. Three days after being reported missing, her body was found in a landfill in Tijuana, where an autopsy revealed she was raped and strangled to death. The murderer's name is Juan (last names are never revealed by Mexican authorities), a person who became obsessed with Marbella after meeting her in the gas station she worked at. On several occasions he followed her to places she was going to. Evidence was later found that he had hacked her social media accounts and placed a tracking device in her car. Before being identified as the murderer, Juan attended the funeral of Marbella wearing glasses and a t-shirt that stated: “Ni Una Mujer Más”.
During researching details of the cases, I would take some moments to step back and take in the pain these victims suffered until they took their last breath. As a young woman myself, it hurts to see how these women's deaths are becoming a norm to society. I also noticed a lack of details and outrage among major newspaper companies to cover these events. Most of the information I gathered came from Mexican news sources, which demonstrates the lack of coverage there is about femicides. However, I am amazed by how womxn have been able to organize themselves in order to make sure their voices are being heard. At these moments of crisis is when we must unite together, because aqui o en Mexico, womxn are facing the same concerns. Will they arrive at their next destination safely? How can we create a safe world for our daughters, sisters, cousins, nieces, friends, mothers, and for ourselves? To stand in solidarity with womxn across the world, Las Brujas del Mar are asking that on March 9, 2020 we wear any garment of the color purple, and encourage us have conversations with others about these nightmare situations that are a harsh reality to many womxn.
* “10 Women Are Murdered in Mexico Every Day .” El Universal, 2 June 2019, www.eluniversal.com.mx/english/10-women-are-murdered-mexico-every-day.
** Reuters, Anthony Esposito. “Mexican President Blames Murder of Young Girl on Past Governments.” UnionLeader.com, 18 Feb. 2020, www.unionleader.com/news/crime/mexican-president-blames-murder-of-young-girl-on-past-governments/article_bbdce1c7-8abb-5d3e-b508-99e296e5a00f.html.
***Picheta, Rob, and Natalie Gallón. “Newspaper Publishes Photos of Brutally Murdered Woman, Sparking Outrage in Mexico.” CNN, Cable News Network, 14 Feb. 2020, www.cnn.com/2020/02/13/americas/ingrid-escamilla-mexico-murder-case-scli-intl/index.html.
**** Univision. “Un Caso Que Estremece a México: Fiscalía Confirma Que Fátima Fue Abusada Sexualmente y Torturada.” Univision, 19 Feb. 2020, www.univision.com/noticias/sucesos/un-caso-que-estremece-a-mexico-fiscalia-confirma-que-fatima-abusada-sexualmente-torturada.
2020, 24 de febrero de. “La Acosó, La Estranguló y Acudió a Su Funeral: El Asesinato De La Estudiante Marbella Valdez Que Conmociona a México.” Infobae, www.infobae.com/america/mexico/2020/02/24/la-acoso-la-estrangulo-y-acudio-a-su-funeral-el-asesinato-de-la-estudiante-marbella-valdez-que-conmociona-a-mexico/.
CMS Medios. “Un Hombre Acabó Con Su Vida, Se Presentó En El Funeral y Le Dio El Pésame a Su Familia.” Soy Carmín, Soy Carmín, 23 Feb. 2020, www.soycarmin.com/trendy/marbella-valdez-feminicidio-tijuana-20200223-0007.html.
Semple, Kirk, and Paulina Villegas. “The Grisly Deaths of a Woman and a Girl Shock Mexico and Test Its President.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 19 Feb. 2020, www.nytimes.com/2020/02/19/world/americas/mexico-violence-women.html.