Mexico | The death of a young woman arouses anger for femicides

(Mexico City) The still unexplained death of young Debanhi Escobar, 18, arouses deep anger in Mexico at the authorities accused of negligence in investigating the murders and disappearances of thousands of women every year.

Posted at 18:32

Jennifer GONZALEZ COVARRUBIAS
French media agency

A quite exceptional fact in a country with almost 100,000 missing in total: the incessant media interest for a week for the student’s disappearance in the night between Friday 8 and Saturday 9 April near Monterrey, the industrial capital of the North.

After twelve days of searching, his body was found on Friday 21 April at the bottom of a cistern next to a roadside motel to Nuevo Laredo, on the border with the United States.


Photo DANIEL BECERRIL, REUTERS

Viral, her latest photo – on the side of the road, alone in the night, in profile, slim figure and long hair, crossed arms, shoulder bag, white top, long beige skirt, Converse shoes – has become the emblem of feminist protests.

“Debanhi I give you my voice”, “we ask for justice” shouted the women in Mexico City last Sunday, after the demonstrations on Friday in Monterrey.

Interest in its history has gone beyond the country’s borders, from Peru to the United States. “A woman goes missing in Mexico. One in a thousand ”, summed up the New York Times Thursday, adding:“ the case rekindles the anger at the inertia of the authorities ”.

Even before the discovery of his daughter’s body, the father, Mario Escobar, played the media card to denounce the failures in the initial phase of the search.

“This case is more visible than the others because that’s what the media decided,” Valeria Moscoso, an expert on psychosocial issues, told AFP, stressing that the complaints of other families of the victims had no effect. .

This case summarizes all the flaws of justice in women’s disappearance cases, adds Mmyself Moscoso: “the indolence of the authorities, the complicity, the guilt of the victims, the criminalization of families and the impunity of the aggressors”.

In the presence of his father on Wednesday, the state attorney general of Nuevo Leon drafted a mea culpa at a conference announcing the dismissal of two prosecutors for “errors” and “omissions”.

The search teams, for example, passed by the tank several times, but only discovered the body after 12 days.

Ten femicides a day

In the same press conference, the Public Prosecutor’s Office presented a video to try to clarify the facts.

At 4:29 am on Saturday, April 9, Debanhi was wandering alone on the side of the road before entering the motel park and leaning out the window of an abandoned restaurant, according to CCTV footage.

Previously, the young woman allegedly bought a bottle of alcohol at a convenience store with two female friends, then left a party after an argument with her friends and other young people, according to witnesses and other CCTV footage presented by televisions.

The young woman then boarded a Didi vehicle – an on-demand transport service application – from which she would then get off for an unknown reason, according to several witnesses.

In this story that spreads in the media, the driver denied on a television the accusations of an inappropriate gesture made by his father against Debanhi.

The driver, on the other hand, claims he wanted to contact his friends and parents when he decided to get out of his white car, which is why he took and shared Debanhi’s famous roadside photo.

“There are many hypotheses. We cannot rule out anything, “said the prosecutor Gustavo Adolfo Guerrero.

“We are not ruling out any investigative leads,” admitted the father, who initially spoke of kidnapping and murder.

Paradoxically, it is this death, the result of a murder or an accidental fall, which has provoked a rare anger against femicides and disappearances.

In Monterrey itself, a young mother, Yolanda Martinez, has been missing since March 31, according to the Mexican press.

A total of 322 women have disappeared in the state of Nuevo Leon since the beginning of the year alone. “90% of these disappearances occur within 72 hours”, minimized the prosecutor.

In 2021, Mexico recorded 33,308 homicides, according to official data. Almost 10% of the victims are women. Feminists report an average of ten feminicides a day.

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