Things That Matter

A 25-Year-Old Mexican Woman Was Killed By Her Abusive Husband After Seeking Help 16 Times From Authorities

Two of the biggest misconceptions about domestic abuse is that a victim needs to leave their abuser or seek help in order to escape their situation. More often than not, a victim has sought out both routes without success. Leaving a situation where one person is being abused by someone they know could be close to impossible. An abuser, at times, will stop at nothing in order to keep a very tight grip on their victim. What makes this matter even worse is that the agencies that are supposed to help victims, ultimately fail them. 

A 25-year-old Mexican woman was killed by her husband even though she had contacted a women’s justice center for help 16 times prior. 

This horrific crime, which could have been prevented, occurred last year, but new details into what led to her death are only now being revealed. According to several Spanish-language news outlets, Vanesa Gaytán Ochoa reached out to the Centro de Justicia para las Mujeres in Jalisco, Mexico, at least 16 times for help. 

According to El Universal, Gaytán Ochoa reached out to the Centro de Justicia para las Mujeres Jalisco for the last time on April 13 to seek out protection from her husband, Irwin Emmanuel Ramírez Barajas only to end up being killed 12 days later. 

“The efforts to prove the degree of participation of the killer were null and void and [the Centro de Justicia para las Mujeres] didn’t even try to locate or inhibit him from carrying out illegal activities,” the Human Rights Commission said, according to El Universal. 

On the day she was killed, Gaytán Ochoa called her lawyer to tell them that her husband was after her. She was advised to go to the governor’s mansion, where a meeting about security was taking place. Gaytán Ochoa took a cab there and did not realize her husband was following her. 

Credit: Centro Reforma / YouTube

Gaytán Ochoa stood outside the governor’s mansion, and her husband drove up and hit her with his car. He got out and stabbed her to death. The entire crime was caught on a surveillance camera.

Gaytán Ochoa didn’t do a thing wrong. In fact, she took all of the proper steps a domestic abuse victim is supposed to do in order to escape their abuser. She had a restraining order against her husband, and yet he violated it time and time again. 

“When a protection order is issued, the authority undertakes to guarantee the life of the complainant,” amnesty international said in a statement last year. “This must materialize in mechanisms that ensure that state and municipal authorities have the information, resources, and personnel that allow them to fulfill the duty to safeguard the lives of women effectively.”

Gaytán Ochoa’s husband was ultimately shot and killed by a security guard at the governor’s mansion. But the damage was already done. She was dead, and now people are seeking justice in her name. [Warning: video contains graphic images.]

According to news reports, it’s unclear who is to blame whether it is the center for women or state officials, but what is certain is that Gaytán Ochoa’s requests and demands were left unanswered. 

“From the evidence in the case file, it is not observed that the staff of the public prosecutor’s office followed a clear and serious line of investigation aimed at verifying the crime and sanctioning the man responsible,” Centro de Justicia para las Mujeres Jalisco said according to El Universal. 

The sentiment on social media over her death of Gaytán Ochoa is also being placed on Jalisco Governor Enrique Alfaro. “The murder of Vanesa Gaytán Ochoa outside Casa Jalisco ‘is the sign of a social decomposition that hurts, offends, unworthy, that gives anger’ and we are all to blame for the social decline.”

Statistically speaking, domestic abuse shows staggering numbers. It’s often said that crimes against women are typically committed by someone they know. 

In 2016, Mexico’s female homicide rate reached 4.5 per 100,000, nearly twice that of 2012, a report by the University of San Diego shows. And that number continues to rise. From 2015 to June 2019, at least 3,080 women were murdered in Mexico

READ: Undocumented Immigrants Are Too Afraid To Report Domestic Abuse Out Of Fear Of Being Deported

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More Than 1,200 Women And Girls Have Gone Missing In Peru During The Pandemic And Officials Think They Know Why

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More Than 1,200 Women And Girls Have Gone Missing In Peru During The Pandemic And Officials Think They Know Why

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Apart from combating the Coronavirus, Peru has suffered a heartbreaking increase in the number of missing women and girls. Just as hundreds of thousands of women took to the streets to demand an end to gender-based violence, the Coronavirus hit and those same marches have had to be put on hold.

Now, as millions of women are forced to stay at home under strict lockdown orders, they’re spending more time with potentially abusive partners or family members. Many experts believe this combination of circumstances is leading to an increase in domestic violence as hundreds of women in Peru have been reported missing since the start of the pandemic.

Hundreds of women and girls have gone missing since the start of the lockdown.

In Peru, hundreds of women and girls have gone missing and many are feared dead since lockdown orders were put into place to help contain the spread of Covid-19. According to authorities (including Peru’s women’s ministry), at least 1,2000 women and girls have been reported missing since the start of the pandemic – a much higher figure than during non-Coronavirus months.

“The figures are really quite alarming,” Isabel Ortiz, a top women’s rights official, told the Reuters news agency on Tuesday. “We know the numbers of women and girls who have disappeared, but we don’t have detailed information about how many have been found,” she said. “We don’t have proper and up-to-date records.”

Ortiz is pushing the government to start keeping records so that authorities can track those who go missing – whether they are found alive or dead and whether they are victims of sex trafficking, domestic violence or femicide.

The women’s ministry said the government was working to eradicate violence against women and had increased funding this year for gender-based violence prevention programs.

Like many Latin American countries, Peru has long suffered from reports of domestic violence.

Credit: Cecile Lafranco / Getty Images

The Andean nation home to 33 million people has long had a domestic violence problem, but the home confinement measures because of the pandemic has made the situation worse, said Eliana Revollar, who leads the women’s rights office of the National Ombudsman’s office, an independent body that monitors Peru’s human rights.

Before COVID-19, five women were reported missing in Peru every single day, but since the lockdown, that number has surged to eight a day. Countries worldwide have reported increases in domestic violence under coronavirus lockdowns, prompting the United Nations to call for urgent government action.

According to the UN, Latin America has the world’s highest rates of femicide, defined as the gender-motivated killing of women. Almost 20 million women and girls a year are estimated to endure sexual and physical violence in the region.

Latin America and the Caribbean are known for high rates of femicide and violence against women, driven by a macho culture and social norms that dictate women’s roles, Ortiz said. She added, “Violence against women exists because of the many patriarchal patterns that exist in our society.”

“There are many stereotypes about the role of women that set how their behaviour should be, and when these are not adhered to, violence is used against women,” she said.

Before the pandemic, hundreds of thousands of women throughout Latin America, including Peru, were staging mass street demonstrations demanding that their governments should act against gender-based violence.

Meanwhile, the country is also struggling to contain the Coronavirus pandemic.

Credit: Cecile Lafranco / Getty Images

Despite implementing one of the world’s longest running stay-at-home orders, Peru has become one of the hardest hit countries. As of August 11, Peru has confirmed more than 483,000 cases of Coronavirus and 21,276 people have died.

Hospitals are struggling to cope with the rising number of patients and healthcare workers have protested against a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE).

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Mexico Looks To Ban Beauty Pageants For Contributing To Machismo Attitudes And Violence Against Women

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Mexico Looks To Ban Beauty Pageants For Contributing To Machismo Attitudes And Violence Against Women

Paras Griffin / Getty Images

Beauty pageants have long been an integral part of Mexican celebrations – from Carnival to fiestas celebrating a Pueblo’s patron saint, they’re extremely common. However, as violence against women soars to new records across the country, Mexico’s newly formed ‘Gender Equality Commission’ has introduced new measures that would effectively ban beauty pageants.

The commission sees beauty pageants as contributing to gender stereotypes, machismo attitudes, and, in turn, endemic violence against women.

However, many Mexicans have already voiced their strong opposition to the proposed rules and intent to fight back against them.

Mexico’s Gender Equality Commission has announced new rules that would ban beauty pageants in the country.

The Mexican Congress has taken up recommendations that the country move to ban beauty pageants. The new bill, based on recommendations from the Gender Equality Commission, would include new provisions to the general law on Women’s Access to a Life Free of Violence.

The commission introduced several new provisions meant to help reduce violence against women, but the one that many Mexicans are talking about is the potential beauty pageant ban – as beauty pageants are a major part of Mexican society.

Members of the commission expressed their objection towards any such form of competition in which beauty or physical appearance of women, girls, or adolescents is evaluated in full or in part based on sexist stereotypes.

“We believe that beauty contests are events which show women through socio-cultural standards and under gender stereotypes as an instrument to maintain the concept of a female body as an object. This limits the personal development of the participants,” the members added.

Under the new guidelines, pageants will not be able to use public resources, official promotion, subsidies and any kind of economic or institutional support for carrying out these kinds of shows. It’s also possible that privately-funded pageants could be subject to the ban.

Mexico has long suffered from gender-based violence but the issue is getting worse year after year.

Credit: Toyo Sarno Jordan / Getty Images

In Mexico, the rallying cry “Ni Una Menos” has been on the tips of everyone’s tongue as violence against women has spiraled out of control in 2020. Before the Coronavirus pandemic forced people to stay home, hundreds of thousands of Mexicans took part in some of the largest protests ever seen across the country, denouncing the growing violence epidemic.

So far, an average of 10 women are killed everyday in Mexico. And 911 calls for domestic violence are up more than 60%, as women are forced to stay home with their abuser.

Meanwhile, the country’s president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, has brushed off the killings as being sensationalized by his opposition to make him look bad. In fact, after news broke of a recent woman’s murder, AMLO was asked about her death at a press conference. However, he told reporters that he did not want to talk about gender-motivated killings of women because he did not want “femicides to distract from the raffle,” referring to a raffle his administration had organized around the sale of the presidential airplane.

The country has a long history of competing in international beauty pageants.

Credit: Miss International Queen

Beauty pageants have been popular in Mexico for several decades and many Mexicans have preformed well at both national and international competitions. So it’s no surprise that many have come out against the announcement and expressed their sadness about the end of pageants.

Several Mexican women have won big at international competitions, including: Vanessa Ponce De Leon (Miss World 2018), Sofia Aragon (2nd Runner Up Miss Universe 2019), and Andrea Toscano (1st Runner Up Miss International 2019).

A Mexican transgender woman also won out over contestants from 21 countries, at Thailands Miss International Queen. Valentina Fluchaire was crowned queen in 2019 at the annual pageant for transgender women in Thailand.

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