A LA JORNADA EDITORIAL
The year ends with the Second International Gathering of Women who Struggle, in which more than 3,500 of them, from 49 countries, are meeting with members of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN) to talk about gender violence. At the same time, the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of the Autonomous National University of Mexico continues taken over by students that demand that authorities of the maximum house of studies take concrete actions to put an end to all forms of gender violence that occur inside of that and other academic units. At the Chapingo Autonomous University, the community experiences shock from the murder of its student Nazaret Bautista, who disappeared on December 19 and was found lifeless on December 23. She was barely 15 years old.
These events portray what 2019 has been in terms of the struggle against the violence that women suffer. On the one hand, the uncontrolled increase in the most extreme form of gender violence: femicide; on the other hand, the bellyful given the exasperating situation of assaults and impunity and the consequent wave of protests demanding that the authorities of all levels take action on the issue, a disruptive phenomenon of disagreement in which the country’s students have played a leading role, at the same time transforming the panorama of the student movements, in which women were always central, but at the expense of making their specific demands invisible.
An achievement of this struggle has been the recognition of femicide as a particular criminal category in which the violence is done to the victim because of her gender. We’re not dealing with a question of mere terminology, because acceptance of the fact that women suffer specific forms of violence also brings with it admitting the need to address these crimes –and efforts to prevent them and punish them– with a special perspective.
The gradual acceptance of femicide as something distinct from intentional homicide against a woman has allowed measure the extent of sexist assaults; from 2015 to 2019 the number of cases classified as such went from 411 to more than 890. This number, chilling in itself, pales in comparison to the increase in the total number of women murdered, which between 2016 and 2019 went from 2,746 to more than 3,100 (the data encompass up to October 2019). In other words, in the present year 10 women have died in violent acts every day in Mexico.
In sum, what ends is the year in which Mexican women raised their voices and took to the streets to confront society with the suffocating reality they experience, as well as the turning point in which the female forms of solidarity and self-organization multiplied to make a front against the attacks they suffer. It’s imperative that the year that’s about to begin be the launch of a comprehensive strategy of struggle against all modalities of gender violence that puts an end to an intolerable situation.
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Sunday, December 29, 2019
Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee