Target: Rodolfo Ríos Garza, district attorney of Mexico City
Goal: Demand an end to the courts’ victim-blaming in cases of rape and sexual assault
The Mexican judicial system remains clouded by sexism when confronted with cases of violence against women—cases like that of 20-year-old Yakiri of Mexico City. According to statements she made to police after managing to escape, two men forced her at knifepoint to go with them to a motel where they raped and tortured her. Yakiri managed to wrestle the knife away from one attacker and turn it against him, causing injuries that would later end his life. After seeking help from police her second attacker remained free while she awaited trial for murder.
According to a report from news outlet Truthout, the investigation was biased from the beginning. Authorities refused to administer a rape kit that could corroborate her story. The presiding judge insisted that the man Yakiri killed in self-defense was in fact her boyfriend. Yakiri’s girlfriend was not allowed to testify. Rodolfo Ríos Garza, district attorney of Mexico City, went on record to say that “We have statements in the previous investigation, where she enters the hotel willingly with someone, and therefore there is no evidence of rape.”
While Yakiri has temporarily won her freedom, she still faces trial and potentially ten years in prison for refusing to be another statistic. Yakiri has the support of her family, community, feminist activists and local artists, but many survivors are not as fortunate. Demand that the Mexican judicial system support rape survivors and stop dismissing women’s claims of sexual violence.
Dear Mr. Garza,
At a recent Women’s Day celebration Miguel Mancera, chief of government of Mexico City, called on public officials to create “a legal framework to respond in an effective manner and clear up practices that overshadow the work of the government.” His statements will not become actions in the context of a justice system that continues to downplay and dismiss women’s allegations of sexual violence.
Yakiri Rubi Rubio was brave enough to seek justice after her alleged kidnappers raped and tortured her. She was brave enough to fight for her freedom, and her life, and she trusted that authorities would come to her aid. Instead from the onset her case was handled with blatant bias. She was refused a rape kit. Investigators searched the crime scene for evidence of murder, but did not seek to corroborate or disprove her story. The presiding judge insisted she was dating the man she killed in self-defense. Witnesses who could disprove this ‘theory’ were not allowed to testify on Yakiri’s behalf. How could anyone imagine that justice was served?
Thanks in part to strong and mounting public pressure Yakiri is no longer being accused of “qualified homicide.” She does however face the possibility of 10 years in prison if convicted of “excess of legitimate defense,” a charge as uncommon as it is absurd. I must insist that you and your colleagues support survivors of sexual violence by investigating their claims in earnest rather than ignoring the realities of rape.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: ledpup via Flickr