MEXICO CITY — Women in at least 10 Mexican cities took to the streets on Friday in a show of anger over femicide and gender-based violence in the country that was prompted by the gruesome killing of a young woman in the capital.
Feminist groups were holding rallies across the Mexico City and in cities including Juarez, Tijuana, Guadalajara and Veracruz to draw attention to the increasingly brutal killings of women and the way the cases are handled by the government and the media.
More than 3,800 women were murdered in Mexico last year, including about 1,000 cases that were classified as gender-based killings or femicide. That was a 10% rise compared to 2018, according to official statistics.
The brutal murder of 25-year-old Ingrid Escamilla by her partner in Mexico City last week reignited the debate about femicide, and indignation grew after two local newspapers published horrific photos of the skinned corpse allegedly leaked by city police.
In Mexico City, women protested in the area surrounding the city’s iconic Zocalo square, in front of newspaper offices that disseminated the images, and outside the presidential palace, shouting “you are not alone, we are many!”
Some of the protests turned violent in Mexico City with car windows and glass at bus stops being smashed. In front of the premises of La Prensa, one of the papers, protesters attacked vehicles with hammers and threw objects.
Female police officers used gas to push the protesters back.
“It is enraging to know how Ingrid was murdered, how the media exhibited her body, how men remain loyal to the patriarchal pact, it is enraging that society judges us, saying that this is not the way to politicize our rage,” a protester read from a statement.
“Today we want to say that we are not angry, we are furious!” she added.
Earlier in the day, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was forced to defend his government’s handling of violence against women at a news conference amid angry shouts from outside the presidential palace.
“I am not putting my head in the sand, I am not evading responsibility … we are addressing the problem of femicide,” he said.
According to U.N. data, two-thirds of women over the age of 15 have experienced some form of violence in Mexico, and around 35,000 women have been killed as a result of their gender in the past 25 years.
U.N. Women’s field office in Mexico said Friday that news coverage that does not highlight the gender aspect of violence “contributes to the normalization and justification of the various forms of violence against millions of women and girls in Mexico.”
It called on Mexican media to “reflect on their social responsibility around this issue and to modify their behavior and messaging.”
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