Mexican President Faces Backlash Over Rising Violence Against Women
Stabbed, mutilated, and skinned, Ingrid Escimilla’s body was plastered on the fronts of magazines and newspapers in Mexico the week of Valentine’s day, according to CNN. While shocking, Escimilla’s murder is not the first of its kind. National Catholic Reporter describes how in 2019 alone, over 3,000 women in Mexico were murdered on the basis of their gender, surpassing the amount killed in the three preceding years combined.
The killing of women for simply being women, or femicide, has been sweeping the globe, and has been particularly prevalent in Mexico. Yet, The Washington Post quotes President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), saying “I don’t want femicides to distract from the raffle,” dismissing the issue. However, for the women of Mexico, femicide is not some kind of distraction but it is, in fact, the main concern to be addressed.
Protests by women in Mexico are growing, and unlike how Lopez Obrador insinuated, they are not unprompted. The New York Times details the death of seven-year-old Fatima Cecilia Aldrighett, who was abducted and tortured after school one day. Protestors wrote her name, as well as Escimilla’s and countless others, on signs and in Twitter hashtags according to NBC, desperately trying to evoke action from a silent government. With NBC confirming that the female death rate has reached 10 a day in Mexico, women’s rights activists are tired of waiting for change.
In light of Lopez Obrador’s comments, activists have taken their protest to him. While the President claims he is taking action and attempts not to conceal the issue, The Guardian reports masked women have taken to the streets, chanting “AMLO is killing us” and “let’s abort AMLO.” The New York Times explains that many of the women protesting now are the very same women who campaigned for Lopez Obrador in 2018. His campaign rested upon championing the rights of the marginalized and underprivileged, but to the women of his country, he has backed out of his promise.
Since activists know signs alone are not enough to trigger change, they have created a more innovative approach. March 8 is known to all as International Women’s Day, which is seen as a celebration of women. Thus, on March 9, organizers in Mexico organized an event to have all the women disappear. The New York Times explains that women are currently rallying around the message expressing ‘A Day Without Us.’ Responding to the violence against them, women in Mexico are planning to go on a strike for 24-hours’ where they will hold absolutely no interaction with men or partake in any routine activities.
Between government inaction and the romanticization of femicide by media platforms, women feel as though they are running out of options. While ‘A Day Without Us’ seeks to prove that women are valuable and deserving of respect, some worry it is not enough. Even as more women join this protest, many still reject the concept of feminism, according to Al Jazeera. It is noteworthy that before her death, Ingrid Escimilla shared anti-feminist posts on Twitter, completely juxtaposed with the cause she is now an icon for. The women of Mexico are not just oppressed by patriarchy and an uncaring government- they are also oppressing one another, and the movement ‘A Day Without Us’ seeks to change all of that.
As the world is celebrating International Women’s Day, it is imperative to remember all the women still living in constant oppression and fear for their lives on a daily basis while they deserve to live in a safe community. As we celebrate all that a woman stands for, we need to persevere further so that violence against women, such as in Mexico is permanently eradicated.