MEXICO: Women Demand Justice for 17-year-old Raped by Police Officers

Photo: Protesters break glass at Attorney General’s office in Mexico City.

By Nélida Tello

In the past week, multiple protests have taken place in Mexico City in response to recent acts of sexual violence against women perpetrated by the police. Most recently on August 16, a protest of thousands defaced the Angel of Independence, shattered the windows of metrobus station “Insurgentes,” and set it ablaze by burning pieces of cardboard. During the course of the protest, the masses also set fire to the “Florencia” police station.

Protesters covered the Angel of Independence in graffiti

A few days earlier, hundreds of people, mostly women, protested outside the Attorney General’s Office and eventually took it over, shattering the building’s glass doors, using queue posts as weapons, throwing a pig’s head inside the building, and tagging the building with “No me cuidan me violan,” “[police officers] don’t take care of us they rape us.”

On August 3, a 17-year-old girl on her way home in the district of Azcapotzalco was approached by four police officers under the guise of providing her a safe ride home before she was attacked and raped. She reported the rape at the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Prosecutor of Sexual Crimes. Her personal information was later leaked by these offices, which led her to drop the charges.

The rape kit used in the report incriminated four police officers at the Secretaría de Seguridad Ciudadana, yet the Attorney General’s Office refused to release the officers’ information to the public. Attorney General Ernestina Godoy said in an interview, “If there are no charges pressed and without the possibility of compiling a report with the [evidence] we have, [the four officers] will [be] put back on duty. We will not fabricate guilty parties.”

Since then, Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum has suspended six police officers as part of an investigation, but so far none have been charged.

The protests do not have any clear leadership but have seen participation from both anarchist collectives and non-governmental organizations. Anarchism, as a petit-bourgeois ideology, is ultimately concerned with individual freedom and rejects collective discipline and centralized leadership, making it unable to militarily take on the primary enforcers of bourgeois order, the police. Likewise, nonprofits and NGOs play an important role in the state’s counter revolutionary efforts.

Sheinbaum categorized the first protest as a provocation, stating that the protesters sought to incite repression from the state. She would go on to say that those who had partaken in vandalizing of the Attorney General’s Office would be prosecuted. On Sunday however, she went back on her word when she met with 40 women from different human rights organization and feminist collectives, claiming that she wanted to work together to “eradicate gendered violence,” and advance a so-called “climate of peace.”

These compromise tactics used by the state are meant to discourage the masses from organizing and pacify their righteous anger through reforms. Sheinbaum, despite making history as Mexico City’s first woman mayor, ultimately serves the Mexican ruling class. The career activists and anarchists who accepted the meeting with the Mayor betrayed the women who have risen up, by choosing a personal seat at the table of the ruling class over having faith in the masses to change society.

Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum.

Mexico is one of the deadliest states for women to live in, an average of 10 women are murdered a day. The Executive Secretariat of the National Security System published a report in 2019 stating that 94% of sexual assaults go unreported in Mexico. While violence against women happens at all levels of society, it is predominantly working-class and poor women who face the brunt of it. Sheinbaum and her feminist pawns cannot end violence against women, much less advance a “climate of peace” in a semi-feudal and semi-colonial society with a bureaucratic capitalist base.

The masses of Mexico City demand revolutionary justice for the girls raped by police, but this justice can never be served by the bureaucrat capitalist state that oppresses the majority of women.  Sheinbaum and Godoy, despite being women themselves, have chosen to align with the same class as the police officers. Those who seek justice for these women and all who face sexual violence must align themselves with the proletariat, the most revolutionary class in history and rely on the masses (with the peasantry as the main force) to make history.