Un Día Sin Mujeres: Millions of Mexicanas Show Their Power In Historic Nat'l Strike Against Femicide
On March 9th, millions of women across Mexico went on strike for their lives.
Ten women are killed every single day in Mexico, that's upwards of 4,000 a year, making Mexico one of the most dangerous places in the world for a woman to live.
After two gruesome, highly publicized femicides, mujeres across Mexico mobilized to protest the brutal violence against women that is on the rise in their country
On March 8th, Día de la Mujer, hundreds of thousands of Mexicanas took to the streets.
¡Qué orgullo vivir en un país con mujeres como ustedes, chingao!#Marcha8M #DiaInternacionalDeLaMujer #SeVaACaer #MexicoFeminicida #LoVamosATirar #8M2020 #9demarzo #UnDiaSinNosotras #NiUnaMas #UnDiaSinMujeres #NiUnaMenos pic.twitter.com/CGw089WJvb— Observatorio Ciudadano (@Obscimx) March 8, 2020
But, on March 9th, streets were empty, as millions of women across the country took part in Mexico's first national strike.
Women didn't go to work, to school, to the store, didn't even go online. Across Mexico, buses, offices, and classrooms sat empty. Hotel rooms remained uncleaned, tickets untaken. Many businesses closed in solidarity with the strike.
This type of demonstration by women is unprecendented in Mexico, but fear and frustration has been growing along with the trend of femicide, which has jumped 137% in the last five years alone.
Millions of Mexican women protesting gender-motivated killings, which have risen 137% in Mexico in the last 5 years, stayed away from offices, factories and schools to show what life would be like if women vanished from society https://t.co/edD6foZP6v pic.twitter.com/DAkRlOgL3S— Reuters (@Reuters) March 10, 2020
Ultimately, it was the back-to-back grisly murders of 25-year-old Ingrid Escamilla and 7-year-old Fátima Cecilia that sparked national outrage and fanned the flames of protest.
"A Day Without Women": the first national strike featuring only women in Mexico has been called for March 9, following a growing number of horrific #femicides in Mexico, including Ingrid Escamilla and Fatima Cecilia Aldrighett. #NiUnaMenos #NiUnaMas https://t.co/X2XYpIry0o— Kering Foundation (@KeringForWomen) February 27, 2020
Ingrid was stabbed, skinned, and disemboweled by her husband. Days later, Fátima's body was found in a trash bag; she had been kidnapped, raped, and tortured.
Abril. Ingrid. Fátima. Isabel. Laura. Joaquina. Florentina. Rosario. Francisca. Camila. Ten women are murdered each day in Mexico. @AnaPecova talks with @CarinZissis about the fight against femicide—and how it's reached a boiling point. https://t.co/av5jayIKI1— Démian Cortés (@DemCortes) March 7, 2020
These murders were especially gruesome, but gradually becoming the norm in a country where 10 women are murdered every single day - that's upwards of 4,000 a year.
Over 60% of Mexican women aged 15 and older have been subject to violence; 41% have been sexually harassed, abused, or assaulted. In Mexico, a woman is raped every four minutes.
Of those, almost 80% have not reported their attacks or sought help because they are made to feel ashamed, afraid, or that nothing will be done.
"You kill a woman here and nothing happens," says Norma Murillo, whose 24-year-old daughter was beaten, shot, and killed by her boyfriend.
Activists report that 99% of rapes and 92% of femicides are not prosecuted, while President Lopez-Obrador and his administration seem to be turning a blind eye. "He is insensitive, minimizing the issue," Norma told the Financial Times.
But women are refusing to allow authorities and their communities to turn a blind eye any longer - their lives depend on it.
“I have every right to burn and smash things. I’m not gonna ask for anyone’s permission...because before they murdered my daughter they murdered many other women and what were we all doing? Crying and sewing from the comfort of our homes. That’s over now.”pic.twitter.com/agcZYABpux— Mona Eltahawy (@monaeltahawy) February 23, 2020
On March 8th and 9th and on the days leading up, women young and old marched for their lives, the lives of their daughters and granddaughters, and the lives of those who never made it home, shouting "Presente!" as their names were read.
For some, it was the first time they had ever participated in anything like this. "Violence is everywhere," marcher Diana Patrón told a reporter. "We're waking up."
Mexico's women made their voices heard, and their absence felt. Men tweeted photos and videos of their empty commutes and workplaces.
One man wrote, "The silence is what has most made me think about what women face every day."
Although many people took to social media to troll strikers and even threaten them with violence and acid attacks, it seems like the powerful demonstrations of the last few days have made an impact.
Mexicanas are not "hoping" that attitudes and laws will change, these guerreras are going to make sure that they do.