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STORY: On a recent Friday in Mexico city women and girls marched in the streets—outraged over the sharp rise in violent crimes against women in Mexico, chanting ‘justice for Ari’
Propelling them to action - the recent death of 27-year-old Ariadna Lopez who was found beside a highway in the central Mexican state of Morelos in October.
Local investigators first blamed her death on excessive alcohol consumption and were quick to declare that there were no signs of violence but Lopez’s family insisted something malicious occurred, pointing to the bruises on her body.
A second autopsy conducted by Mexico City officials found various blunt force injuries; Multiple traumas was the cause of her death.
Mexico City mayor, Claudia Sheinbaum, accused Morelos investigators of wanting to hide the violence due to alleged links with the killer - without offering evidence.
Lopez’s cousin, Michelle Andrade, echoed mayor Sheinbaum’s sentiments.
"The authorities are incompetent, fraudulent and insufficient, not only in Ari's case, but in the case of all those who are not here. The way things were done and the fact of hiding information, manipulating the facts and re-victimising her was not satisfactory for the family".
Lopez’s case fits a grim pattern of faulty investigations of the killings of women.
According to government data, in the first 9 months of 2022 over 5,600 women were killed in Mexico.
Half were presumed manslaughter, just over a third, murder, and 12% femicide - the killing of a woman or girl on the basis of gender - a more serious charge that calls for up to 70 years in jail.
Data from 2019 showed that for every 100 women killed - only four resulted in sentences.
“It doesn't matter what time she went out, how she was dressed, if she was with someone, if she wasn't with someone, if she had children, if she didn't have children, it doesn't matter. We lose focus on what is important, which is: the person who killed her, the people who killed them, why they did it and what sentences they are going to serve, because it is also very easy, as people see that all cases go unpunished, it is so easy to do it."
The protesters last Friday wore purple, a symbol for gender equality— joining women across Latin America who marched in an international day of protests against gender violence, during which mothers of murdered women and girls took to loudspeakers to demand justice for their loved ones.