A lady prays in front of the open door where the Fatima coffin is located. It is a small box, one of those that should not be designed, a grave for a seven-year-old girl. It is covered by a white cloth with lace frills. The lady continues to pray with her head in front of the coffin. It has not yet dawned, the street is silent, a bonfire in the middle of the asphalt spits ash and only a few early risers stop for a few seconds. They cross themselves crouched down and the words that Malena Anton, mother of the murdered little girl, echo with her eyes lost to the other side of the street resonate: “This time she was my daughter, but it could have been that of any of you” .
In her head, the mother curses herself a thousand times for not having arrived in time to pick up her daughter at school on February 11. 15 minutes late. Cry As if it were his fault that on leaving a public school that has more than 700 students and is located on the street that overlooks the church and a local government building, they will take their youngest daughter, the youngest of four siblings. One of the busiest streets in town. There, between a crowded market at 6:30 p.m., next to a panic button from the local police, one block from the security cameras that didn’t work.
The neighborhood where Fatima disappeared, between Xochimilco and Tláhuac, south of the capital, is a tangle of gray houses and streets designed on a grid. A few minutes from there, where the authorities have registered that they took the girl to a house, the roads narrow and wind a hill called El Cerro but officially is Cerrillos. A schizophrenia of circular roads that many end up in an alley. This corner of the capital of Mexico does not usually approach the police, neighbors say. It is the poor asphalt mass where those who also inhabit the capital live.
Authorities reported that the girl was found with signs of torture, although they have not specified the cause of death. Nor is there a detainee for this crime. Although there are video records where the girl is observed by a lady after leaving school. The prosecution has informed that, for the moment, it has taken a statement from five people and that its efforts are focused on finding the woman that appears in the video.
The crime of Fatima has scandalized a country accustomed in recent years to breakfast with the cruelest news. In Mexico, 10 women die killed a day. In total, there are more than 90 homicides in 24 hours. While at least eight out of 10 crimes do not receive a conviction. The threshold of exhaustion and indignation of Mexican society, so often put to the test, now has a new spur. An increasingly strong and visible feminist movement, which since the protest in the streets to work in human rights organizations, is raising pressure on institutions.
The head of the Government of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum, described Monday the action of the case as a “chain of institutional negligence.” A mea culpa not usual by the Mexican authorities, despite the failures found in the protocol of action of the school, which let the girl go with an unknown person, until the prosecution, which delayed the complaint of the parents more than 24 hours
From the feminist organizations of human rights it is alerted that every time the panorama has become more complex. “We only face traditional violence against women, which occurs within the home. Since 2007, with the emergence of narco violence, the murders have multiplied on public roads, for both men and women, ”said Ana Pecova, director of the Equis Justice for Women organization.
They demand a paradigm shift in the design of public policies with a gender perspective. “There are two particularly vulnerable groups, girls and older adults. We need intersectional prevention policies, which take into account age, disability, sexual choice, ”adds Pecova. 50% of missing women are under 18, according to disaggregated data from their organization.
Despite the trickle of femicides in Mexico City – they increased 35% during the last year – the city is paradoxically one of the states with more gender legislation. In November, the Gender Violence Alert was activated, a measure that civil organizations have requested since September 2017. A few months before, a plan of immediate actions to address violence against women was presented: a public transport assistance button , a security, emergency and civil protection office; more luminaries and “safe environments” in the city’s metro stations; more security cameras, new public ministry agencies for women and police training.
The usefulness of the new measures were portrayed the day after its implementation. A woman who came to the prosecution to report threats ended up being raped by a police officer. “We are the country of paper rights. We have neither institutions, nor resources nor capacity to make them effective, ”Pecova emphasizes, which points directly to discriminatory practices by prosecutors.
Fatima left Enrique Rébsamen school and a woman, whose identity is unknown to the family who has seen a video of the security cameras, took her hand. Before entering the center, around 2 pm, he stopped with his nine-year-old brother and his mother in an ice cream stand and asked María de los Ángeles Chavez, 31, if she could give him a little taste of frozen. Chavez is also a neighbor of the family and takes her young children to the same school. “When the children left, his nine-year-old brother came to the post with his mother asking if he had seen her. They were desperate. ”
The girl’s body was thrown in a vacant lot a few blocks from her home and found by the police this weekend, a week after they took her away. He was beaten, naked and rolled in some plastics. In this neighborhood dump, on a pile of debris, food scraps and empty cigar packages, they have placed flowers and painted balloons. “Not one more.”
In less than a week, Mexico has attended two especially sadistic crimes against women. Last Friday, 25-year-old Ingrid Escamilla was murdered by her partner, who confessed in a brutal video leaked by the authorities the fury with which he had ended his life. The photos of the young woman’s body appeared on the pages of the local media. The sociologist and anthropologist of Conacyt Patricia Ravelo Blancas warns of a degree of social decomposition linked to the extreme violence of organized crime, but which is increasingly reproduced in other fields and that also has to do with the rupture of social, emotional and cultural ties caused by poverty, impunity and inequality.
“We are feeding as a society,” says the anthropologist “a morbid, a certain joy of seeing broken bodies. They are the methods of cruelty that come from wars and massacres. And there are young people, not only those who enter with the narco, fascinated with these methods. They fall in love with cruelty. The human being has a face of evil, which is about controlling in a project in society. But, on the contrary, we are attending a feeding of pleasure in torturing and murdering ”.
Beyond the institutional cracks, Ravelo emphasizes “changing the mental structures that conceive women as objects or sources of pleasure.” And it demands more space in the educational system, “to generate a culture of inclusion, respect and equality”, as well as to put the fund in “serving men, give school to health institutions.”
A few hours after knowing the crime, at the time of greatest outrage, during his daily press conference, López Obrador blamed what happened to individualistic morals and conservative thinking. A reductionist response that has further irritated a society that every day crosses a new limit. “If they had been their children, if they had taken from them what they wanted most, I already told them that they would have moved heaven, sea and earth. But we, the poor, have no one to help us, ”replies Malena Anton, a few hours before his daughter’s funeral.