A Veracruz teenager allegedly raped by four young men last year reportedly wished to put the incident behind her and move on, but instead it has become a major national story.
In January 2015, Dafne Fernández was leaving a nightclub with a friend in the city of Boca del Río when she was forced into a vehicle by four college students. Enrique Capitaine, Jorge Cotaita, Diego Cruz and Gerardo Rodriguez, young men from affluent families, took her to one of their homes in the Costa de Oro community where she was allegedly sexually assaulted.
Fernández later told her parents, but asked them not to file formal legal accusations against her aggressors because she wanted to put the event behind her.
A few months later, Dafne’s father, Javier Fernández, looking for retribution and peace of mind, filed a complaint with the local justice department, while reaching an agreement with the parents of the four young men shortly after. The students acknowledged forcing themselves on their unwilling victim and apologized in a video.
The story didn’t remain a secret for long. The video was made public last week although it remains unclear who published it. Some accounts claim it was Fernández himself who did so, while others say the hackers’ group Anonymous was responsible.
While Dafne Fernández has received widespread support, social media has shown its dark side.
The four aggressors and their friends have allegedly posted videos of the young woman partying, and commenters have accused her of bringing the aggression upon herself. Others have claimed that the Fernández family is out to get money from the families of the accused.
Then there are those who have called the case a political attack against the families of the young men, all of whom are prominent citizens of Boca del Río.
Local authorities have been investigating the case since last May and reportedly have had enough evidence against the four students since November, but so far no arrests have been made.
The state’s Attorney General’s office has declared that the video of the four young men apologizing cannot be used as evidence because they don’t actually admit to the crime.
In a letter published in local media, Javier Fernández called on the Attorney General and Governor Javier Duarte to prosecute the four young men. He also accused authorities of delaying investigations into the case, to which Attorney General Luis Ángel Bravo reply by insisting that justice would be done.
“I only beg [Mr. Fernández] to allow us the chance to build a thorough case” through an efficient investigation.
On Monday, relatives, friends and civil society organizations marched in the streets of Veracruz, demanding justice for Dafne Fernández and punishment for the accused youths.
The four students belong to a group called Los Porkys de Costa de Oro (the Porkys from the Gold Coast), whose members include privileged sons of politicians and business leaders. Members of this boys-only club have allegedly been involved in other crimes, including running over and killing a 15-year-old boy at a party two years ago.