Crime & Justice

Brutal rape in Mexican city notorious for gender violence stirs outrage

By Guadalupe Peñuelas

Mexico City, May 14 (EFE).- Residents of Ciudad Juarez, the gritty Mexican border metropolis infamous for hundreds of mostly unsolved murders of women and girls, are mobilizing to demand justice for a woman who was raped and tortured by assailants she identifies as employees of Mexico’s state-owned electric utility.

On April 23, Cinthia accepted an invitation to a party in the union hall at the CFE power plant in Samalayuca, 36 km (22 mi) south of Juarez.

Within a few hours of her arrival, the 31-year-old mother of three realized that someone had drugged her drink.

“After they gave her drugs, she doesn’t remember much, But she does remember the subjects who raped her,” Cinthia’s Aunt Isabel told Efe.

After an ordeal that Cinthia says left her “mutilated,” the assailants – mistakenly thinking she was dead – dumped the woman in a remote part of town.

But Cinthia still had her cell phone and she telephoned her family once she regained consciousness the next day.

“When she called us, she was taken to the Women’s Hospital. What they did to her was monstrous,” Isabel said, blasting the Chihuahua state Attorney General’s Office for failing to act against the men Cinthia identified as her attackers.

“She is in a poor state emotionally. The men responsible are on leave from their jobs. It’s not fair,” the victim’s aunt said.

Efe contacted the CFE for comment, but the area superintendent for Juarez, Alejandro Hernandez, said that he “wouldn’t know” what to say about the case.

“The impunity in Chihuahua, in the country, is concerning,” activist Maria Elena Ramos said, adding that society has become desensitized to violence against women.

“We demand of the community that they join and participate in preventive action and provide women with safe spaces to enjoy themselves,” she said.

Chihuahua, according to figures from the state AG Office, has seen 73 killings of women so far this year and more than half of those “femicides” have occurred in Ciudad Juarez, which lies just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas.

The Mexican government defines femicide as the killing of a woman or girl for motives connected with the gender of the victim.

Imelda Marrufo, who chairs Red Mesa de Mujeres, a coalition of women’s organizations in Juarez, called the impunity that reigns in the city an encouragement to greater violence.

“It’s a message to the aggressors to continue committing the same crimes because nothing is going to happen,” she said.

Society must guard against normalizing cases such as Cinthia’s, Marrufo said.

“It’s important that the investigations be speedy, it’s necessary to assign more investigative police,” she said. “We will ask authorities for attention to this and to other cases awaiting solution.”

Mexico registered 1,004 femicides last year, an increase of 2.66 percent over 2020.

The total number of female victims of homicide in 2021 was 3,751, for an average of more than 10 a day. EFE gp/dr

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