Gender Based Violence in the Midst of the Pandemic


Photo Credit: (La Jornada/Yazmín Cortés)

A tributes created to honor the victims of femicide crimes and protest the inactivity of institutions failing to prevent it are spreading across Mexico given recent events.

Luiza Decenzi, Editor-in-Chief

If you have turned on the news channel this year you’ve probably heard of the Black Lives Matter, the 2020 presidential election, and maybe even the name “Alexei Navalny” rings a bell relating to international news. But if I mentioned the latest “femicides in Mexico” the response would be different. 

Femicides have exponentially wreaked havoc in Mexico since the beginning of the pandemic. An article of the Los Angeles Times remarked, “of the 35,558 homicides recorded in Mexico last year, 3,825 of the victims were female. A total of 1,006 killings were officially classified as femicides…”

The term “femicide” is used to describe deliberately murdering females because of their gender. This specific type of homicide is considered a hate crime, yet “93 percent of crimes [in Mexico] were either not reported or not investigated in 2018, and investigation and prosecution of femicides follows that trend,” according to the Center for Strategic International Studies. 

The rapidly growing rate of femindes in Mexico reached new heights in April 2020, when CNN reported a record 267 cases in a single month. The devastating truth about those numbers is that they did not come unanticipated by the Mexican population. Government authorities later revealed 26,171 emergency calls were made during the lockdowns of the prior month about violence against women and tens of thousands of people marched against femicide during International Women’s Day due to increasing gender-based violence.

The country’s administration has done nothing, however, to stop this recurring tragedy in light of this year’s occurrences. In fact, he has declared 90 percent of the emergency calls to be fabricated. Nor has he divulged any plan to alleviate the situation while the death count rises.

Meanwhile, the evidence of these heinous crimes are still found throughout the country. The latest statistic revealed that the month of July accounted for another 103 femicides in the country, 60 of which were murdered in public, 36 at their own homes, and one at work. Victims of femicide during that month average 25 years of age but young adults don’t solely comprise July’s fatality statistics. The oldest reported victim was an 80 year old woman and the youngest only saw one year of her life. 

The names of these victims cannot, nor should they, be forgotten. Among the approaches to combat femicides announced by The World Health Organization are to strengthen screening, prevention, laws and awareness regarding femicide, as well as detailed focus on intimate partner violence and murder in the name of honor. Something must be done to stop this horrifying trend and it starts with education on the subject.