Why The Tragic Death of 19-Year-Old Mara Castilla Could Be Any of Us


A week after 19-year-old Mara Fernanda Castilla went missing, authorities found her dead. The Mexican student had called a taxi-sharing service called Cabify, but according to various news reports, Castilla never got to her destination. The Cabify driver that picked her up was arrested in connection with her death. Her body was found near a motel in state capital of Puebla.

“All the weight of the law to those responsible for the crime of Mara Castilla, we will rigorously review Cabify’s safety standards,” Tony Gali, the governor of Puebla said on Twitter.

Rather than celebrating Mexican Independence, thousands of people in Mexico took to the streets to honor Castilla and bring attention to violence against women.

“Sexual violence against women is constant and it happens on a daily basis in Mexico,” Tania Reneaum, the executive director of Amnesty International Mexico, told Al Jazeera.

“We marched not only for Mara, but for so many women who have been killed,” Reneaum said.

Al Jazeera reports that in Puebla, Mexico, 83 women have been killed since the beginning of the year, Lesby Berlin Osorio, 22, in May and Valeria Teresa Gutierrez, 11, in June.

Reneaum also told  Al Jazeera that “66 percent of women and children over the age of 15 have reported being sexually abused at least once.”

Karen Castile, sister of Mara, told La Jornada that her sister’s murder is “is a feminicide; my family and I are a wreck, but we want justice for her and for all the disappeared people. We do not want any more condolences, we do not want one more!”

Gabriela Miranda, mother of Mara, also gave a statement in her daughter’s death saying: “I seek justice not only for my daughter Mara, who was fortunate to have been found, when we know that there are many cases of women, children, young people and adults living in the uncertainty of not finding one their families.”

People in Mexico blame the government for these acts of violence because more often than not, their crime goes unpunished.

According to El Universal, out of 542 inmates in jail for the crime of femicide in 2015, only 201 were actually sentenced.

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