Content note: this post contains graphic descriptions of violence
If I am killed, it will be because I spoke out against my country’s government and how it ‘dealt’ with femicides.
On May 3 2017, Lesvy Berlín Osorio was found dead in Ciudad Universitaria, the main campus of Autonomus National University of Mexico. Immediately, the story reached headlines and caused outrage in the campus community. Once again, Mexico faced a femicide, this time at the most prestigious university in the country. Only hours afterwards, the Office of the Public Prosecutor tweeted that “she was getting high with a few friends”, “she failed courses” and “she was living with her boyfriend”, as though these were reasons to justify a woman’s murder.
Once again, our authorities blamed us, and washed their hands of responsibility. Horrifyingly enough, this hasn’t been the last case of femicide. As I write this, I am struggling to find accurate figures on Mexico’s femicide rate in 2017, since our institutions are not reporting it. I recently found out that in two months, five barbaric femicides have taken place throughout my country: Lesvy was tied to a telephone booth with the cord around her neck, a 60-year-old woman was raped and impaled to death in her own house, a young woman’s legs and face were skinned, an 11 year old was raped, tortured and murdered on her way home from school, and a man tried to behead his ex-wife in a local mall.
I ache when I write this.
I had to ask a group of women if I should write this at all. If this is how I want to show Mexico to Girls’ Globe’s readers; but they asked me, how could I not? How could I not use this platform to tell the rest of the world what they are doing to us? How could I not write about the gender based violence we live amongst every day? How could I not use this privilege as a way to give those women and girls their voices back – the voices that were ripped out of their chests?
On July 7th, two months after her death, the General Justice Attorney declared that Lesvy was having a fight with her boyfriend, got the telephone cord tied around her neck, and killed herself.
Let that sink in. Let it infuriate you as it did me. Read it again.
On July 7, two months after her death, the General Justice Attorney declared that Lesvy was having a fight with her boyfriend, got the telephone cord tied around her neck, and killed herself.
I am so sorry, Lesvy, sorry beyond words, that they did this to you. I am sorry too, to all the women failed by authorities when their names are shared. I am sorry to the families of the women in the five cases I described above, because none of them have found any justice.
When the Attorney tweeted about what Lesvy Berlín Osorio was doing to ‘deserve’ to be murdered, the female community’s outrage sparked the hashtag #SiMeMatan (If They Kill Me), simulating what might be shared by media or the Attorney to justify the act if we were to be murdered. This is not a ridiculous idea. Five women die a violent death every day in Mexico, and an estimated 60% of them go unpunished.
Today, I invite you to join us, because if you were murdered today in Mexico, the Attorney would say “she was a tourist travelling on her own”. This affects all of us. Share our pain by writing a #SiMeMatan tweet, no matter what language you do it in, and join our cry to pressure our authorities to do their jobs and protect our female population. We don’t only want justice, we want safety.
#SiMeMatan, it will be because I asked you to do this.