The streets of Mexico City’s centre turned purple on Saturday, February 2, as a large scale protest against violence towards women voiced their concerns over safety measures across the country. Amid growing reports of attempted kidnappings in Mexico City’s metro system, women and men wore purple in solidarity, demanding an end to the crisis of femicide that is growing across the nation.
Authorities have since also recently announced plans to tackle what has been revealed as a string of harassments on the public transport system. Some victims have reported a man pretending to know them and who threatens to kill them if they raise alarm, before trying to force them into a vehicle.
Saturday’s march began at the Monumento a la Madre before marching on the Paseo de la Reforma and towards the Zocalo. Another protest on Friday also saw 500 women cycle through the city, in an attempt to raise awareness of attacks against women.
The term femicide has sadly risen to some prominence in Mexico recently and specifically refers to the killings of women as a direct result of their gender. According to Global Citizen, who conducted a study alongside UN Women and the National Women’s Institute, reports of violence against women have almost doubled since 2007 across Mexico; and are usually attacks orchestrated to demonstrate ‘relationships of power.’ Many of the attacks take place in or around the victim’s residence and are also often associated with Mexico’s northern states who are experiencing the worst bouts of organised crime.
Several states in Mexico currently hold a warning of high aggression towards women as well as disappearances and murders.
Although femicide is noted as being on the rise in a number of states, contrary to this, official reports from across the country suggest the amount of victims is still relatively low.
According to Publimetro, the reason that femicide results are low – especially in recent years that witnessed thousands of murders across Mexico – was due to both under-reporting and the lack of media coverage that these crimes received, which are often only brought to light as a result of pressure from citizen organisations.
Failures on part of recent governments, as well as sparse data relating to the full scope of attacks across the country, has even led some people, such as María Salguero to begin identifying cases of femicide herself. Recent grassroots efforts, such as this weekend’s protests, come alongside news earlier this year that 128 women who had experienced domestic abuse would receive panic alarms that contain a GPS tracker.
Ni una más, ni una más, ni una asesinada más! (Not one more, not one more, not one more murdered [woman] ), was just one of the many slogans that could be found at this weekend’s march.
According to the Mayor of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum, mobile help centres are to be set up in the metro stations at Coyoacán, Mixcoac, Martín Carrera, Tacubaya and UAM Iztapalapa as a result of the attempted kidnappings. It has been a key priority for the new government to instil a greater level of safety across Mexico amid allegations that former authorities have failed massively to protect such human rights.