In hat and police suit, with a radio hanging from her belt, Clarisa Gomez, age 25, could not hide a huge smile as thousands of women passed by in front of her on Paseo de la Reforma, in Mexico City on March 8, 2018.
For a moment she forgot that she was there as a police officer, leaned on a lamppost she moved her head from side to side, as if she was in a tennis match, trying to read all the banners that passed by in front of her: “We demand full rights on our bodies”, “No more femicides”, “I want to live without fearing that my daughter will not return home”, said some of the signs.
She had never been to a social movement of thies type, and did not even know that that Thursday was the International Women’s Day. But when the caravan passed by, a powerful feeling got into her: “It is a pride to see so many women together demanding the same thing. They ask what we all ask for freedom and justice. I feel one of them,” she summarized. This was the first demonstration of her life (and most likely not the last).
Thousands of women marched through the Mexican capital on Thursday March 8 in a protest for women’s rights.
These women demanded the end of the macho violence that makes Latin America the most feminicidal region in the world.
Mexican women face an average of seven murders of women a day. According to UN Women, in 2016 alone, there were 2,746 femicides in the country and more than 23,800 in the last decade. 40% of women in Mexico will not reach the age 17 without a man attempting to sexually violate them.
Every day in Mexico, 80 sexual crimes are reported at Public Ministry agencies throughout the country, the 911 emergency number receives almost 300 calls a day related to incidents of violence against women, according to the Public Security Secretariat (SESNSP).
To these figures it must be added that 94% of women do not report sexual aggressions because there are not even specialized prosecutors or police officers capable of dealing legally with these complaints.
During the march a manifesto was read signed by more than 50 associations in which they claimed reproductive rights, social equality and a judicial system that solves their claims.
Among these groups is MAM (Women Contributing to Women) a network dedicated to offering support to women who suffer violence at home or with missing daughters. “Being a woman in Mexico is synonymous with death and and murder with impunity, no justice and no hope” said Joana Gómez, 40 years old.
Macho violence begins with the “micromachismo” that we allow at home, in the public transportation units or in our working environment. It is fundamental to educate men so that these micromachismos do not derive in their wildest expression: torture and murder,” she summarized.
Collectives like MAM have set the goal that next year there will be fewer and fewer women laying by a lamppost watching the banners go by and more shouting next to them.
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