Jan 18, 2021
Early last year, Bianca Alejandrina Lorenzana posted to social media: “Don’t we deserve more than a grave in a garbage dump, in an empty lot, or on the side of a road?” Ten months later, authorities in Cancun found her dismembered body.
Statistics show an average of ten women are murdered every day in Mexico. In response to Lorenzana’s murder and many others, women’s groups organized a protest at Cancun city hall in November. But instead of offering women protection from violence, the police fired on the protestors with live ammunition!
It has long been dangerous to fight the killing of women in Mexico. For instance, after her daughter was murdered in 2014, Miriam Rodriguez tracked down the killers one-by-one, sometimes capturing them herself, gun in hand, before turning them over to authorities. Mrs. Rodriguez asked for protection—but received none. On Mother’s Day, 2017, she was gunned down in front of her home.
Mexico’s current president, Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), was elected in 2018 claiming to lead a “People’s Movement” that would help the poor and vulnerable. His Interior Minister even claimed that his movement is “feminist.”
But nothing has changed for women facing violence. When he was asked about a spike in 911 emergency calls about violence against women during the pandemic, he claimed without evidence that 90% of the calls were erroneous, and asserted that Mexico’s “family oriented” culture would make home confinement safe!
In reality, the pandemic and economic crash have made women’s situation much worse. According to Bloomberg News, women have experienced almost two-thirds of Mexico’s job losses. Access to abortion had been legal in only two out of 32 states in Mexico, and for most women it disappeared totally as clinics closed and it became harder to travel. As they lose jobs and control over their own bodies, women become even more vulnerable to violence. A collective of women’s crisis shelters reported an 81% increase in the number of people it served from March to June of 2020 compared to the previous year.
In the face of the government’s refusal to protect women’s lives, the demonstrations continue. In September, feminists occupied the country’s Human Rights Commission. That occupation continues, as do protests highlighting specific murder victims across the country. These protestors risk their lives by speaking out and refusing to allow women to continue to be killed in silence.