On Friday, August 16, hundreds of protestors, with the majority being women, took to the streets of Mexico City in protest. The demonstrators demanded more protection for women from the police and policy change for women’s rights in the country. These demands were made in light of recent high profile allegations of sexual assault where two teenage girls voiced being sexually assaulted by police officers, and no charges had been brought up in either case. People were outraged when a 17-year-old girl in Azcapotzalco was raped by four police officers in their patrol car. However, when news emerged the following week that a 16-year-old girl was also raped by a police officer at a museum, the outrage turned into a protest.
The protestors, dubbed by some as “Glitter Protestors” demonstrated with chants and dance while tossing pink glitter at officials and policemen. Along with that, with many graffitied historical monuments such as the famous Angel of Independence Monument with words such as “They don’t take care of us” and “rape state” in lime green, black, purple and pink spray paint. The graffiti from the majority of the protest followed the theme of the hashtag used on social media to organize the protest #NomeCuidanMeViolan, which translates to “they don’t protect me, they rape me.” The women also proceeded to graffiti other parts of the city such as police stations and subways with similar messages.
While violence against women is a problem worldwide, in the last couple of decades it has intensified in Mexico with as many as nine women are murdered daily. The problem is so prevalent in the country that there is a term for it: femicidio or femicide, the killing of a woman or a girl for their gender. Although the term has been used internationally before, it was first coined and used by Latinx activists to describe the mass murder and violent homicides of women from the city of Juarez, Mexico during the 1990s, where more than 350 women were targeted and killed.
The numbers of femicides in the country from then continued to grow. From 2015 to as of June 2019, it is estimated that at least 3,080 women have died in femicides in Mexico, with the victims often being Mexican women of indigenous descent. The issues are extremely prevalent near the Mexican-United States border, where women often go missing. Many of the victims’ bodies are found in the desert, under trash heaps, bushes, and some are never found. Fifty-six percent of the Mexican territories overall is seen as a dangerous place for women, even though women make up sixty-percent of the population.