A 15-year-old girl who fought back and stabbed a man who was sexually assaulting her has been absolved of homicide.
Justice officials in Mexico City deemed it was a case of legitimate self-defense.
“It was determined that the victim is free of all responsibility because she acted in legitimate self-defense and her bodily integrity and life were at risk,” the Mexico City Attorney General’s office (PGJDF) said yesterday.
The girl, identified only by her first name Itzel, was walking home from school June 1 when a man attacked her beneath a bridge near the Tasqueña Metro station in the southern borough of Coyoacán.
Itzel’s attacker, later identified as Miguel Pérez Alvarado, ordered her to walk with him and threatened to kill her with a knife if she refused to cooperate.
According to the girl, several people and vehicles passed by the pair and observed the scenario but no one stopped to help.
After arriving at a vehicular overpass Pérez repeatedly sexually assaulted the girl and also looked set to attack her with a knife, she told investigators.
But instead Itzel managed to seize the weapon and turn it on her aggressor, wounding him in the abdomen.
While Pérez tried to sit up and shouted abuse at his victim, Itzel sought help and identified the rapist to police.
He died in hospital from his injuries 48 hours later.
No inquiries were made about the man’s health nor did anyone arrive at the hospital to claim his body.
Instead, in accordance with institutional protocols, his corpse has been made available to medical students for practical studies but is likely to be interred soon in a common grave.
However, his death didn’t signal the end of the ordeal.
Itzel was informed that a file had been opened relating to the man’s death, a crime the family claims received greater attention than was given to the one of assault.
Over a period of almost a month Itzel was subjected to medical examinations and psychological tests as part of the PGJDF investigation to determine whether her actions constituted legitimate self-defense.
In an interview with Milenio Televisión, both Itzel and her mother, María de la Luz Hernández, said the treatment they received from authorities lacked professionalism. Hernández went as far to say that they were treated in a “tyrannical” fashion.
“When my daughter arrived they made her feel like she was the guilty one. The procedures took forever, they never asked her how she was or how she felt. They gave her the morning-after pill up to the third day. Not only was she raped, they tore her to pieces with their treatment instead of helping her.”
She also claims that personal details were leaked and that she and her daughter received threatening phone calls from anonymous sources.
Hernández believes that the decision to exonerate Itzel of all responsibility only came about because of the pressure the family exerted on authorities by making the case public.
Itzel, whose identity was not revealed on camera, made a plea that she not be treated like a criminal and said that while she was relieved with the ruling in her case, there are many other similar cases where justice does not prevail.
She is currently undergoing therapy to help her recover from the torment she endured.