Things That Matter

Mexico Feared A Woman Was Kidnapped But She Is Alive And Well, But People Are Blaming Her And WTF

An episode that became viral in Mexican social and broadcast media brought out the best and worst of society when it comes to responses to the current crisis that women are facing in the country. Karen, a 27-year-old mother of three, was feared kidnapped after she sent a text to her mother telling her that the cab driver of the vehicle she boarded looked suspicious.

Karen’s brother started an online hunt for her sister when the family didn’t hear from her for a few hours. The story became viral and multiple hashgtags related to the search were shared thousands of times. Karen came back the next day after a night out. So Mexico should have released a collective sigh of relief, right? Well, that wasn’t exactly the case. 

First things first: the fact that Karen was found is EXCELLENT NEWS.

The fact that Karen was alright is the best news ever. There is no way around it: yes, her mother and brother should be upset about Karen not following up her original text to say she was OK, but that is a private family affair and not something that people should get up on arms about. Yes, she was wrong to lie at her mother but that is between the two of them. This message, which plainly says that the taxi driver looks suspicious, is just like the millions of texts sent in Mexico just for some peace of mind. 

Seriously, some people were actually disappointed  that she was found alive and well, which speaks of the ideological violence against women in the country.

First of all, Karen’s brother was totally within his right to call to action when the family didn’t know Karen’s whereabouts. What they did by starting a search is what any Mexican family would do given the climate of violence against women when it comes to their health, safety, sexual independence and life. Any Mexico City family would have thought the worst.

When Karen came back home after a night out, some social media users were actually acting as if they were insulted! Like it was owed to them for Karen to actually be kidnapped or dead. This mob mentality is harmful but also a symptom of how normalized feminicide and overall physical violence towards women has become. 

The government actually went through the effort of finding security cameras that show her having fun at a bar (just like, well, any normal person.)

When Karen was found alive, the government and mainstream media disseminated a video in which Karen is seen partying at a bar. Yes, she drank. Yes, she was probably intoxicated… or not… whatever. The fact is that they went through the trouble of going through security camera footage just to lavarse las manos and blame Karen on all the chaos that was originated, and rightfully so.

If the authorities went through this much trouble every time a woman disappeared then perhaps the numbers of murdered women in Mexico each year wouldn’t be in the thousands. So let us get this straight: they solve the mystery of a woman’s whereabouts within hours when she is found alive and just in the middle of a misunderstanding originated in a lie, but there are families that even after years of searching for their loved ones have no clear answers and have to literally walk the desert for months with the hope if finding some closure. 

What sucks is that the first thing her family thought was the worst, because that IS ACTUALLY WHAT HAPPENS TO THOUSANDS OF WOMEN IN MEXICO.

So was Karen’s family overreacting when they triggered a search? Absolutely not. For all they knew, Karen would have been raped, murdered, dismembered and dissolved in acid. Yes, it gets that bad, so just be happy that Karen is fine, people! Daniel, Karen’s brother, took on social media to thank those involved in the search: “Thank you all for the support, Karen Espíndola, my sister is already at home. She did not arrive in the best conditions but the investigations will continue. I really do not wish this feeling on anyone.”

But fact is that millions of Mexicans live in a constant state of anxiety because the worst is a very real possibility. As Daily Mail Australia points out: “At least 1,533 people have been kidnapped in Mexico during the first 10 months of 2019, including 152 in the month of October.”

And it gets worse, according to El Universal, at least 3,663 women were murdered in Mexico in 2018, and 2019 numbers could be even higher as it is the most violent year on record. 

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