Femicides continue to rise in Mexico and progress to protect victims and stop the rise is slow but a new law is a step in the right direction. Local legislators in central Puebla state unanimously approved Monzón’s law reform, named after feminist activist and lawyer Cecilia Monzón who was allegedly shot by the father of her child in May of 2022, Reuters reported. The law states that men who are being investigated for femicide will be suspended of their parental rights, signifying the first such reform in the country. State lawmakers also unanimously approved legislation to sanction acid attacks with up to 40 years in prison, treating the crime as an equivalent to attempted femicide. Dubbed Malena’s Law, it’s named after Maria Elena Rios, a saxophone player and survivor of an acid attack that occurred in her home.
It is a daunting time to be a woman in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, as it is currently the No.1 leading state in the rising number of femicides. Protesters are demanding more effort from President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in combatting the rise in femicides by rightfully sentencing murderers and keeping murderers who are already sentenced from rejoining society. In 2019 government data reported that for every 100th woman killed in Mexico, only four cases result in sentencing sending the message that femicides more than likely will go unpunished.
According to La Prensa Latina Bilingual Media, there have already been 30 femicides committed so far this year. However, in 2021 Mexico recorded the number of femicides at 969. In 2022 Mexico’s government reported 600 to 7,646 cases of manslaughter against women resulting in 20 femicides each day. The most recent is the murder of 23-year-old Kiara Agnew, who went to Mexico with her boyfriend for her 24th birthday. Agnew was found dead at the Grand Sunset Princess Resort in Playa del Carmen on Friday, March 3rd. The alleged suspect is her 26-year-old boyfriend, Ryan Friesen who is currently detained in Mexico. Kiara Agnew would have turned 24 years old on March 11.
Some of the recent efforts include General Law for Women’s Access to a Life Free of Violence in 2007, which created the gender violence alerts that would take place in 2015 in Mexico. However, despite the alerts and the commission formed on femicide by Mexican legislators, federal data proved that the rise in the rates of femicides nationally had more than doubled in 2021 compared to rates in 2015.
“In Mexico, we do not say Happy International Women’s Day: 11 women are killed every day & femicide has increased by 40%. Rather than a cause for celebration, today is a reminder of the ongoing struggle to end gender-based violence and achieve gender equality,” Ana Gabriela Tamayo, who is based in Mexico and works for Innovations for Poverty Action, tweeted on March 8, International Women’s Day.