Justice
Women on the Outskirts of Mexico City Protest Against Femicide: "It hurt that they didn't come to support us"
Women from the State of Mexico, with the second highest number of femicides in the country, protested in the shadows of mainstream media.

In 2017, 43-year-old José Antonio "N" kidnapped, sexually assaulted and murdered 11-year-old Valeria Gutiérrez in Nezahualcóyotl, State of Mexico, on the outskirts of Mexico City. The women in that municipality, located about an hour from the country's capital, organized themselves after that femicide to form the Nos Queremos Vivas Neza Neighborhood Assembly.

Since 2017, the organization has been carrying out protests or activities to increase awareness among Mexican citizens about the disappearance of women, which is the crime that precedes feminicide. In the State of Mexico, the percentage of missing women is double that of other states in the country, according to data from the National Registry of Data on Missing Persons (RNPED).

Nezahualcoyotl is the second municipality in the state with the highest number of femicides, intentional homicides of women, and the third in disappearances, according to the National Citizen Observatory of Feminicide and RNPED.

"They didn't die, they were murdered".

On November 24, as part of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the organization called on the media and women from Mexico City for a peaceful demonstration in Nezahualcoyotl. The women from the outskirts of the Mexican capital announced that they would protest prior to the demonstration that several organizations called for on the 25th in Mexico City. However, only 200 people showed up at the event, between Neza and Chimalhuacán, where months ago the women placed large pink crosses to remember the victims.

The demonstration went through the Company Channel, a body of water where women's bodies have been found and where basic services are not available, they adorned it with flowers as a symbolic act for all the victims. Elsa Arista, member of Nos Queremos Vivas Neza, laments the media failure to expose the violence that women in that area experience every day. Their protests are not visible.

The housewife protesting on a river that smells horrible and that is part of her daily life does not attract the media. The media is not summoned by life, death and violence is what summons them

The activist believes that the mainstream media would rather cover the rally in Mexico City because of "morbidity ", after the August 16 protest, in which feminists expressed their anger at the femicides with graffiti on the angel, an emblematic monument in the capital.

"The housewife protesting on a river that smells horrible and that is part of her daily life does not attract the media. The media is not summoned by life, death and violence is what summons them," says Elsa Arista in an interview.

Toluca

At Toluca, one of 125 municipalities in the State of Mexico and more than two hours away from Nezahualcoyotl, a group of feminists organized an evening for women who suffer sexist violence. Daniela Medina, member of the Collective of Feminist Assemblies of the State of Mexico (CAFEM), one of the organizers, registered the attendance of almost 200 people, although she did not see much media coverage.

She recalled a September 28 protest in Toluca, in which she recognized that there were graffiti on city property. And although not all the women agreed, they took responsibility for the graffiti under the motto "We all did it". Feminist groups in that municipality were attacked by a group of men who threw bottles and sticks at them.

"The next day the Catholic Patronage called a press conference and said that the feminists owed them half a million pesos in repairs and, perhaps we owe them, but they owe to us many dead," said Daniela in an interview.

A demonstration in Toluca, State of Mexico.

While she does not complain to the women that protested in Mexico City, Daniela says that the lack of women from the country's capital hurt them greatly. For years, she says, women in Toluca were afraid to protest in that municipality and mobilized to the protests in Mexico City, which is 45 minutes away.

"For many years we supported them to improve [the city] public policies, it would be great if they would also help us. It hurt a lot and quite a few feminists from the State of Mexico said that they would never protest in Mexico City again, that they told us something like they didn't come because it wasn't their jurisdiction and because they were scared," says the activist.

At least 2.25 million people commute to Mexico City daily from the surrounding municipalities. Women who work in Mexico City leave their homes early, they drop their children off at school and return to their homes in the State of Mexico late at night.

Commuting usually starts between 4:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. to Mexico City and people return from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., according to the Secretariat of Mobility of the Government of Mexico City.

Women protesters in Mexico City, 25 November.

Ecatepec

In Ecatepec, the Femicide Denouncement Network of the State of Mexico and Women of the Periphery for the Periphery, two organizations engaged in reporting, monitoring and providing support against violence against women and girls in the State of Mexico, carried out a public demonstration on November 23.

Since 2011, Manuel Amador, a sociologist and high school teacher, has organized these activities as a way of denouncing violence. The Francisco Villa school is located in the Hank González neighborhood, one of the most dangerous in Ecatepec, next to Jardines de Morelos. He started giving art workshops for girls and young women and they organized the artistic demonstrations that gained popularity among the community and the authorities.

An altar for the victims in Mexico City.

The November 23 performance was attended by family members and mothers of victims of violence and was called the "Human Memorial." These actions are designed to increase awareness and make an impact on those who participate, on those who see the performance and on the public opinion," explains Manuel.

Since July 28, 2015, the National System of Prevention, Attention, Sanction and Eradication of Violence against Women enacted the Gender Violence Alert in 11 municipalities in the State of Mexico, including Ecatepec, Toluca and Nezahualcóyotl. The alert involves providing immediate attention to crimes against women due to gender violence.

In addition, on October 2, the alert for the disappearance of women was re-issued in only seven municipalities: Toluca, that is in first place for disappearances, Ecatepec, Nezahualcóyotl, Cuautitlán Izcalli, Chimalhuacán, Ixtapaluca and Valle de Chalco, according to the Secretariat of the Interior.

According to Manuel, performing is also denouncing because art is seen by his students as an alternative discourse in the periphery of Mexico City.

However, the teacher reports that these actions usually have greater repercussions abroad than in the country itself. " It is seeing art from the body in a place like Ecatepec, where the bodies are often silenced". 

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