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Girls & Women

These 11 Women Were Sexually Tortured by Mexican Officials. Now, They're Fighting Back.

Flickr/Laura Salas

“They put me in one of the seats and that's where they started to touch me more ... to touch my breasts in a very aggressive way.”

"Then a policeman grabbed me from my belt loop and pulled me, put me against the wall and put his hand in my vagina."

"At some point I felt that my life was shattered, that they had upset me on the inside in a very strong way.”  

These are just some of the statements made by a group of 11 Mexican women who have accused the state of Mexico of rape, torture, and sexual assault in a 2006 incident. 

Take Action: Tell World Leaders to Redouble Their Efforts By Amending Laws to Prevent Sexual Violence

Yesterday, the women stood in front of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IAHCR) to speak out against the perpetrators of the violence, none of whom have been convicted of a crime in Mexico, and call for an international investigation into their case, Reuters reports

“We deserve the recognition that we’re telling the truth, that the chain of command be investigated, not only so that justice is done, but so that these events never happen again,” one of the women, Norma Jimenez, said. 

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In Mexico, sexual violence against women, as well as femicide, is rampant. 

According to 2015 statistics, nearly two in three Mexican women over the age of 15 reported having been the victim of gender violence. In the past three decades, more than 40,000 women have been murdered in the country, but less than 5% of femicide cases have led to a conviction.

Read More: Hundreds Protest Femicide & Gender Violence at ‘Day of the Dead’ Celebration

Global Citizen campaigns against sexual violence around the world, and is calling on world leaders to amend their laws on rape, abuse, and sexual assault. You can take action on this issue here

The case of the 11 women who are now in front of the IAHCR took place in the state of Mexico, which is the province that surrounds Mexico City, in 2006, in a town called San Salvador de Atenco. 

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According to reports, the women were part of a protest against the government’s restrictive labor policies, and were accused of “illegally blocking public access.” Among them were journalists, students, and even some passersby, the BBC has reported

After police broke up the protest, the women were reportedly detained in a police bus, raped, and sexually tortured by security forces. 

Read More: Hundreds of Mexicans Have Been Murdered Simply Because They Are Women

According to El País, more than 200 people in total were detained, including 50 women — 31 of whom later alleged they were sexually assaulted.  

The group of 11 women filed an appeal to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in 2008, which wasn’t declared admissible until 2011. In September of last year, the commission sent the case to the IACHR. 

“We’ve come here to speak out,” one of the victims, Maria Cristina Sanchez, said. “In Mexico, justice has not been done.” 

On Friday, the court will hear testimony from the defendant — the state of Mexico. Reuters reports the ruling “could take months.”