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Reported cases of femicide up almost 60% in Mexico City last year

'What we are seeing is only the tip of the iceberg'

Femicides increased almost 60% in Mexico City last year, making the capital the 11th worst entity in the country for the crime, according to data from a national crime watch group.

Presenting a 2019 Mexico City crime report on Wednesday, the director of the National Citizens’ Observatory (ONC), Francisco Rivas, said that the number of femicides – crimes in which a woman or girl is killed on account of her gender – rose to 68 in 2019 from 43 the year before, an increase of 58%.

As a result, Mexico City recorded the 11th highest number of femicides among Mexico’s 32 states in 2019, seven places higher than it ranked in 2018.

ONC statistics show that femicides increased by more than 50% in 10 of the capital’s 16 boroughs. Xochimilco, a borough in the south of the city best known for its canals and the colorful boats that ferry visitors along them, recorded the highest number of femicides last year whereas it ranked seventh in 2018.

Rivas also said that the number of rape cases increased by 4.33% in Mexico City last year, highlighting that the per capita rate in the capital was above the national average for the second consecutive year. There were 16.58 rape investigations per 100,000 residents in 2020, ONC data shows.

Rivas asserted that violence against women has “deep roots” in Mexico and that statistics don’t paint a full picture of the problem.

“What we are seeing is only the tip of the iceberg; there are … entire communities where we never find out about the crimes committed against women,” he said.

“They are not … only victims of physical violence but also psychological and economic violence,” Rivas said, adding that many women live in situations that make it difficult for them to report the abuse they have suffered.

He also said that legal protocols that stipulate that all murders of women must be investigated as femicides are not observed in many parts of the country. Therefore, femicides – of which there were 1,006 victims last year, according to official data – are almost certainly underreported.

The publication of the ONC Mexico City crime data comes just after two femicide cases in the capital that have shocked Mexicans across the country.

Ingrid Escamilla, 25, was stabbed to death by her 46-year-old domestic partner on February 8 after which he skinned and disemboweled her body in an attempt to dispose of the evidence. A week later, the body of 7-year-old girl Fátima Aldrighett was found inside a plastic bag in southern Mexico City four days after she was abducted outside her Xochimilco primary school.

Both cases triggered an outpouring of anger and condemnation in a country where an average of 10 women are killed every day.

Days after Escamilla’s death, women’s groups took to the streets of Mexico City to protest at the National Palace and outside the offices of a newspaper that published leaked photos of the woman’s mutilated body.

Speaking at his morning press conference on Monday – the day authorities announced Fátima’s murder – President López Obrador said that “neoliberal policies” of past governments were to blame for the high number of femicides, charging that they caused a “social breakdown” and “a profound crisis in loss of values.”

Responding to the president’s claim, Rivas said that “there is no evidence that neoliberalism generates violence,” adding “one of the characteristics of the majority of neoliberal countries is that they are the safest in the world.”

Source: Milenio (sp) 

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