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Three Brave Women Launch Campaign to Encourage Reporting Acts of Sexual Violence in Mexico

“No te calles” (“Don't remain silent”) is the message that these victims of sexual violence in Mexico are seeking to convey in a campaign launched on social networks to encourage people to report crimes of sexual assault.

Gabriela Nava is a student of higher education at the Acatlán Campus of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Gabriela was a victim of sexual assault near the campus when a man took photos from underneath her skirt with the camera on his phone. It was later discovered that this person was an employee of the university.

Meanwhile, Andrea Noel was attacked by an individual – now identified – who lifted her skirt in the street and pulled down her undergarments, leaving her genitals visible for a moment.

Both Gabriela and Andrea have been subject to countless criticisms and vulgar remarks on social networks from people who blame the events on the way the women were dressed.

Yakiri Rubio meanwhile recounts her experiences after having been the victim of a much more serious crime than abuse: rape. She had to face denied or delayed justice by Mexican authorities and was even accused of having attacked one of her aggressors.

In March 2016, Global Voices dedicated a piece to the disgraceful violence against women in Mexico and the government's consistent strategy of heightening bureaucracy and creating “gender alerts” to give the impression of addressing the problem and complying with their obligations under international law on the subject.

But beyond the demagoguery with which public servants look to confront the violence, this group of brave women stood up to incentivize reporting the crimes and carried with them an important message to social networks:

Cuando nos tocan a una, respondemos todas.

When one of us is touched, all of us respond.

The video came to light at a time when public opinion is vehemently addressing the issue of sexual crimes against women following extensive coverage of what happened to Andrea Noel and the notorious case of “Los Porkys“, in which four young individuals from the social elite of the state of Veracruz (in eastern Mexico) were accused of raping an underage girl.

The alarming numbers of sexual assault crimes in Mexico make campaigns like “Don't remain silent” necessary. According to website Actitud Fem:

Cuarenta y siete por ciento de las mujeres en México mayores de 15 años han sufrido algún tipo de violencia, sea física, sexual, emocional o económica. Asimismo, y por increíble que resulte, 26 entidades del país no penalizan en la actualidad y con todo rigor el abuso sexual pues este delito, en ocasiones, recibe castigos menores que el asignado al robo de una vaca como lo informó el Instituto Nacional de las Mujeres.

Forty-seven percent of women in Mexico over the age of 15 have suffered some form of violence, whether physical, sexual, emotional, or economic. Additionally, incredible as it may seem, 25 of the country's entities do not penalize sexual abuse rigorously nowadays since the punishment for this crime is sometimes less than that for stealing a cow, reports the National Institute of Women.

Consequently, along with the “Don't remain silent” campaign, activist groups supporting women have called for a day of demonstrations on Sunday, April 24, 2016, which will also aim to give strength to the slogan: “when one of us is touched, all of us respond,” as digital media outlet Tercera Vía promoted. Sara Lovera also reported on this event for the independent blogging site Homozapping:

Con el hashtag #VivasNosQueremos todas a las calles, las redes sociales y los grupos organizados de mujeres en al menos 15 entidades del país preparan una movilización para hacer visible la preocupación sobre todas las violencias machistas. Cada día se suman más organizaciones que el próximo domingo 24 de abril estarán en muchas plazas del país.

Dicen quienes promueven la movilización que la violencia machista parece no tener límites y agregan que está en ascenso.
Y si la movilización tiene éxito, habremos avanzado años luz. No importa que hayamos estado parcialmente dormidas. Claro que no, pero este es un golpe fuerte.

With the hashtag #VivasNosQueremos [#WeWantUsAlive], all of the streets, social networks, and organized women's groups in at least 15 of the country's states are preparing to mobilize and show their concern for all of the violence against women. More organizations are joining every day and will be present in many of the plazas throughout the country on April 24th.

Those promoting the movement say that violence against women seems to be limitless and is on the rise.

And if the movement is successful, we will have advanced light years. It doesn't matter that we have been half asleep. Of course not, but this is a heavy blow.

Our work building bridges across cultures, languages and perspectives is more urgent than ever before.

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