Women of Atenco Launch Campaign to Break the Silence of Sexual Torture
Center Prodh
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May 10, 2014

During the conference the women explained that torture is a strategy of war and of social control by the State that aims to silence and destroy individuals, social movements and organizations. (Andalucía Knoll)

MEXICO D.F. - Eight years after the police operations of the 3rd and 4th of May, 2006 in San Salvador Atenco, Mexico State, 11 female survivors of sexual torture from policemen of all three levels of government, parties to a case before the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, present the campaign Breaking the Silence: together against sexual torture, which seeks to create bonds of solidarity between similar cases.

Through the campaign the women will expose the systematic pattern of sexual torture that faces Mexican women detained by policemen, military or marines, who fail to provide the protection society expects them to provide. The campaign will also demonstrate that torture and repression are mechanisms of control perpetuated by the State.

During the conference the women explained that torture is a strategy of war and of social control by the State that aims to silence and destroy individuals, social movements and organizations.  For these reasons, the campaign Breaking the Silence: together against sexual torture, aims to expose the structural violence of the institutions that should protect citizens, along with those which are, supposedly, responsible for assuring justice.

Valentina Rosendo Cantú joined the campaign because she knows what it feels like to seek justice. She calls on national and international organizations to support fellow victims of sexual torture. Only then will the government realize that these women are not alone.

Javier Hernández Valencia, representative in Mexico of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, signaled that our country finds itself within one of the most violent regions of the world and consequently many women are victims of all types of violence.  Valencia specified that in cases of torture, the opportunities to achieve justice are limited or non-existent.

Valencia also stated that, ¨sexual violence is not a mistake, no authority accidently abuses a woman¨, and such practices only demonstrate the insistence of a patriarchal system to repress women and reveals the chauvinist impunity with which society and governmental institutions accept violence against women.

The campaign Breaking the Silence will be distributing information regarding future actions on social networks (@CentroProdh and facebook.com/prodh) and the campaign will culminate with an open forum on November 25, 2014.

Currently the campaign has the participation of the women denouncing sexual torture in Atenco, as well as Claudia Medina Tamariz (tortured by members of the Marines), indigenous women Inés Fernández y Valentina Rosendo (tortured by members of the military), Miriam López (tortured by members of the military) and Verónica Razo (tortured by members of the former Federal Agency of Investigations (AFI)).

Summary of cases included in the campaign:

Claudia Medina Tamariz

On August 7th, 2012, Claudia Medina Tamariz, a 33-year-old housewife and mother of three from Veracruz, was arbitrarily detained in her home by members of the Navy, and was subjected to 36 hours of physical, sexual and psychological torture – including threats against her family, electric shocks, asphyxia and sexual humiliation. She signed a confession written by her captors, which was later presented to the press with a false representation of her detention, accusing her of being part of the Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel. Currently she is under conditional release, facing false accusations.  Claudia wants to clear her name, so that justice and tranquility can return to her family.

Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo

In 2002, in two separate incidents, Inés Fernández Ortega and Valentina Rosendo Cantú, indigenous me´phaa women from Guerrero, were victims of grave human rights violations, including sexual torture, committed by the Armed Forces. On October 1st, 2010, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights announced two judgments against the Mexican State, that among other reparations measures, ordered investigations and subsequent sanctions against those responsible. Inés and Valentina join the campaign to demand an end to torture against detained women.

Miriam López

In February of 2011, Miriam López, housewife and mother of four children, was unjustly detained in Baja California by members of the military.  She was raped and tortured with electric shocks and asphyxia in order to obtain a confession and make her falsely accuse others. In September of 2011 all charges were dropped.  Miriam has had the courage to denounce her torturers, but until now her cases remains an example of rampant impunity.  Miriam joins the campaign and hopes for justice.

Verónica Razo

June 8th, 2011, Verónica Razo Casales was arbitrarily detained by federal police.  During her detention she was a victim of sexual violence.  She was taken to the offices of the Federal Agency of Investigation (AFI) where she was physically, sexual and psychologically tortured (with electric shocks on the breasts and feet, beatings and threats). A few days later she was taken to the offices of the Assistant Prosecutor of Special Investigations into Organized Crime (SIEDO) in order for her to confess to the crime of kidnapping.

Today, she is in the Federal Center for Social Rehabilitation (Cefereso) No. 4 in Tepic, Nayarit; and has been held in preventive detention for almost three years. Verónica joins the campaign and hopes for a judicial resolution that will determine her innocence and grant her freedom and justice.

More information:

Quetzalcoatl g. Fontanot,
Communications Area, Center Prodh.
5546 8217 Ext. 110; 5546 6559 (direct); 55 8531 2218 (cellular)

Related: Fightback Continues Against Sexual Brutality by Mexican Police

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