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Mexico Faces a Tough Test to End Torture of Women by Police and Military

Erika Guevara-Rosas - Amnesty International
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July 13, 2016

Mexico's Open Secret (Amnesty International)

A groundbreaking report published by Amnesty International details the harrowing testimonies of 100 women who have been arrested by Mexico´s police or military, the majority during the current President Enrique Peña Nieto took office in December 2012.

Of these 100 women; 97 said they were physically abused, 72 said they had been sexually abused, and 33 said they had been raped. Many of them were tortured to force them to “confess” to being part of a drug cartel or kidnapping ring.

We visited the only federal prison for women in Mexico to conduct interviews for this report; and the appalling stories of abuse just kept coming.

... Being a woman from a disadvantaged background makes you an easy target for abuses. The police and soldiers seem to take advantage of the fact that when women are living in poverty, they do not have the means to question the authorities. For example, a young sex worker and single mother-of-two told Amnesty International that all she had done was “go out to work to survive” one night when she was arrested by Federal Police in 2014. She was beaten and abused, and later accused of a serious crime.

A number of the women we spoke to had been raped by individuals belonging to the Navy. Mexico´s marines participate in public security operations and are generally seen as an elite force. However our research found that arrests carried out by the Navy had the highest rates of rape. In 2011, it was marines who subjected Denise Blanco and Korina Utrera to a 30-hour ordeal involving rape and ritual humiliation as a punishment for being lesbians. The couple remain in prison on charges of organized crime and drug offences.

So what must the government do to eradicate these hellish practices? Evidence suggests that training actually has very little impact. In fact the Navy, Army and Federal Police informed Amnesty International of literally hundreds of trainings directed at their agents in recent years on “women´s rights and a gender perspective.”

While this is discouraging, Amnesty International believes the situation can, and must, change. We also believe that the best way to stem the tide of abuse is to make sure there are consequences for those who perpetrate it.

Read the rest at Amnesty International

Related: Torture Scandal in Mexico: American "Nearly Beaten to Death" (Associated Press)

  Check out Banderas Bay Women’s Shelter

  Check out Juvenile Integration Center

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