MEXICO CITY, Mexico – Like many countries, Mexico is currently trying to keep its citizens safe from COVID-19. However, there is a lesser-known evil affecting the citizens of Mexico. Ever since Mexico began implementing stay-at-home orders, reports of female homicides have risen dramatically. In April, 267 women were identified as murder victims, which is the highest number of victims in the last five-years. This shows how crucial it is to address femicides in Mexico during COVID-19. Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, however, is vehemently denying the problem. In an interview, Obrador claimed that 90% of the 26,171 emergency calls related to violence against women are false.
Mexico is not the only country experiencing a situation like this. As a result of lockdowns worldwide, domestic violence reports are rising. Spain’s report percentage, for instance, rose by 18% in the first few weeks of the pandemic.
Violence Against Women in Mexico
This recent spike is a representation of the larger trend of violence against women in Mexico. In the last decade, about 1,000 women were killed yearly in Mexico. Prosecution levels are low, standing at around 1.6% from 2012-13. Now, with law enforcement visiting crime scenes less and less due to isolation measures, the women of Mexico may feel that there is no way out of the dark situation they are facing.
Economic struggles resulting from the pandemic will also worsen the situation in Mexico. Studies have shown that male breadwinners who lose their jobs may turn to negative coping methods, thus increasing femicides in Mexico during COVID-19. The amount of wealth, in general, could also restrict the ability for a woman to gain access to resources that may be needed to escape and process traumatic experiences such as therapy, physical healthcare and shelters.
Mexican women have been protesting, even during the coronavirus pandemic. Especially after the death of Ingrid Escamilla in Mexico City in early February. After she was killed, a tabloid published the photos of her dead body nationwide causing mass outrage. On International Women’s Day, Mexican women reclaimed the streets and marched, calling on the government to do more for victims of femicide, domestic and sexual violence.
Futures Without Violence
A notable group fighting against worldwide domestic violence is Futures Without Violence (FWV). FWV is calling on the U.S. to address domestic violence globally during the coronavirus pandemic. It’s requesting that the U.S. support legislation that includes language surrounding gender-based violence (GBV). Furthermore, the organization is also asking the U.S. government to supports the global effort against COVID-19 with more monetary aid. As the U.S. pulls funding away from the WHO and more global organizations, it is going against the recommendations of groups like FWV that could help women in Mexico.
Though the pandemic has affected the world, many minority groups are affected disproportionately. The world’s poor are struggling to navigate this COVID-19-ridden world. And women are struggling for their livelihoods everywhere but especially in Mexico. Femicides in Mexico during COVID-19 is one of the many terrible side effects of the current pandemic. The women of Mexico are fighting back, and the world needs to join them in their fight. Organizations such as Futures Without Violence are looking out for women during this especially difficult time.
– Tara Suter