The La Violencia Feminicida en México, Aproximaciones y Tendencias 1985-2016 report indicates that the country’s annual femicide rate was 3.8 per 100,000 women in 1985 and rose to 4.4 in 2016. The National Women’s Institute in Mexico collaborated with UN Women on this report, which indicates nearly a third of the killings in a 32-year period occurred within the last six years.
The General Law on Women’s Access to a Life of Free Violence, released in 2007, contains a clear definition of femicide.
“Femicide violence is the most extreme form of gender violence against women, produced by the violation of their human rights in public and private spheres and formed by a set of misogynistic actions that can lead to the impunity of society and the State and culminate in homicide and other forms of violent death of women,” the law states.
In 2015, the National System for the Prevention, Attention, Sanctioning and Eradication of Violence Against Women established the Alert of Gender Violence Against Women (AVGM) for Mexico. The AVGM affects 11 municipalities with the concentration of the highest index of violence and crimes against women. The alert implemented security measures to prevent violence and to increase women’s security.
Despite these safety measures, women in Mexico still suffer from high femicide rates. Colima had the highest femicide rate in 2016, at 16.3 per 100,000. The next highest areas include Guerrero, Zacatecas, Chihuahua, and Morelos. Areas with high-organized cartel violence rates also have the highest number of these kinds of killings; for instance, Acapulco in Guerrero had the most killings of any municipality, at the staggering number of 107.
The National Citizens Observatory on Femicide is an alliance of 36 human rights and women’s organizations that monitors information about the lack of justice for women victims of violence. Mexico has received numerous international recommendations regarding the rights of women because Mexico’s actions remain insufficient.
A University of San Diego report, Violence Against Women in Mexico, describes how the country’s long history of femicide has created distrust in the government, as well as a culture of impunity, since only eight percent of femicides in Mexico result in punishment.
“Femicides terrify, denying women equal access to public space and opportunities, and further shredding a social fabric already torn by a decade-long drug war,” the document says.
Women die through cruel methods, such as stabbing, beating and strangling, according to the Feminicida en México report.
“This means there has not been success in changing the cultural patterns that devalue women and consider them disposable, allowing for a social permissiveness in the face of violence and its ultimate expression, femicide,” said the report.
As a result, the report recommends the government address the problem with public policies that prevent violence and eliminate risks in public areas, a change that will empower women and increase their economic autonomy.
Mexico cannot continue denying the confirmed femicide statistics that these reports present. Gender violence will only rise if the country’s government does not enforce the already implemented legislation. Femicide rates will only decline if the State heeds human rights recommendations and addresses the issue head-on.
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