Is this really what women still have to face in 2015?
Nadia Vera, 32, a proud feminist and social activist, was murdered in her flat in Mexico City along with four other women last month. Three of them, including Vera and her journalist friend Rubén Espinosa (both pictured above), were allegedly raped and tortured before being shot in the head. Many believe they were targeted because they dared to demand equal rights for women across the country, attending protests, staging plays and writing politically charged poems.
Sadly this incident is not an isolated one. These horrific murders are just the latest in a long line thought to have been committed to silence women just like Nadia. 36 women’s rights activists have been murdered in Mexico in the past five years according to the National Network of Women Human Rights Defenders of Mexico. Their stories have been largely ignored by local media in Mexico. So is this really what women still have to face in 2015? Facing serious injury, intimidation and even death, just for speaking out about women’s rights?
A study found that in 2012 alone, there were 414 attacks against female human rights defenders in Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, with 118 of these taking place in Mexico. A massive 87% of these attacks were found to have been committed by the very people who were supposed to be protecting these women – police, government officials and the military.
Out of those, 60% were part of a series of attacks, while just 11% were isolated events.
María de la Luz Estrada, director of the National Citizens Femicide Observatory, said: ‘The authorities must ensure everyone involved, including the intellectual authors, face the ultimate consequences. This case has put all women defenders on red alert. It was a clear, serious message for us all.’