Updated: May 23
The case of Roxana Ruiz, a woman sentenced to six years for killing her rapist, serves as a chilling reminder of the prevailing impunity and patriarchal oppression in societies worldwide. In Mexico, where only 1 percent of crimes committed in 2021 were resolved and where ten girls and women are killed every day, the prosecution of a rape victim sends a clear message: women's bodies are men's property.
While it is true that men can also be victims of crime, it is crucial to understand the context in which women are victimized. Much violence against women occurs within their homes, often due to intimate partner violence, in spaces where they should feel safe and secure. Such violence reinforces gender inequalities and power imbalances, perpetuating a cycle of fear and harm.
Mexican Impunity and Patriarchal Oppression:
The statistics surrounding crime resolution in Mexico are staggering, revealing an alarming culture of impunity. With only 1 percent of crimes resulting in convictions, survivors are left without justice, and perpetrators continue to operate freely. In a society where femicides are rampant, the failure to address and prosecute violence against women sends a devastating message about the value placed on women's lives and well-being. The case of Roxana Ruiz exemplifies how women who defend themselves against their abusers are often met with punishment rather than protection.
The silencing of women who seek justice and protest for victims' rights is deeply troubling. Mothers of victims who raise their voices for justice are sometimes met with violence and, in some cases, even murdered. These acts of aggression perpetuate a culture of fear and silence and further entrench impunity for perpetrators. The Mexican government must ensure the safety and protection of those who advocate for justice and speak out against violence.
In the United States, significant challenges surround the disappearance, murder, and lack of support for indigenous women. Unfortunately, these cases often receive inadequate attention and insufficient investigation from law enforcement agencies, violating the rights of indigenous women and reflecting broader systemic issues that perpetuate violence and marginalization.
The ongoing battle over women's bodies and reproductive rights highlights the patriarchal grip on women's autonomy, undermining their agency by seeking to control women's reproductive choices, perpetuating gender inequality, and reinforcing the idea that women's bodies are subject to external control.
Femicide in Mexico and the challenges surrounding violence against women in the United States are deeply rooted in patriarchal structures and attitudes that view women as dispensable and reinforce ownership and control over their bodies. These underlying causes play a significant role in perpetuating gender-based violence.
Within the patriarchal framework, women are seen as objects to be controlled, leading to a culture of impunity for acts of violence against them. This mindset contributes to the normalization of femicide and perpetuates a lack of accountability for perpetrators.
Combating Patriarchy and Protecting Women and Girls:
Raise Awareness: Education and open dialogue are crucial to challenging patriarchal norms and fostering a society that values gender equality. Sharing stories like Roxana Ruiz's can help shed light on the systemic injustices women face and encourage broader discussions about the need for change.
Advocate for Legal Reforms: Women's rights organizations and activists can mobilize efforts to advocate for legal reforms that address violence against women, strengthen the justice system, and ensure the protection of survivors. Pushing for legislation that guarantees comprehensive support services, trauma-informed investigations, and improved conviction rates can help combat impunity.
Empowerment and Solidarity: Women must unite to support and empower each other. By fostering solidarity networks, women can amplify their voices, challenge societal expectations, and demand change. Building strong communities and support networks is crucial for collective action against patriarchal oppression.
Political Engagement: Women's political representation is crucial for effecting systemic change. Encouraging women to participate in politics, run for office, and support feminist candidates can lead to policy reforms that protect women's rights, including comprehensive reproductive healthcare and legislation that addresses gender-based violence.
Education and Empowerment Programs: Implementing comprehensive sexuality education and empowering young girls through programs promoting self-esteem, assertiveness, and critical thinking can help combat patriarchal ideologies early on. By equipping girls with knowledge and tools to challenge oppressive norms, we can pave the way for a more equitable future.
Roxana Ruiz's tragic case is a reminder of the impunity and patriarchal oppression plaguing Mexico and the United States. By raising awareness, advocating for legal reforms, fostering empowerment and solidarity, engaging in political processes, and implementing education and empowerment programs, we can dismantle oppressive structures, protect women and girls, and strive toward a more equitable society where women's bodies and lives are respected, valued, and protected.
The Attorney General's Office of the State of Mexico retracted Ruiz's conviction after several groups of women protested in front of the Attorney General of the State of Mexico, demanding that the sentence of six years and two months against Ruiz be reversed. They declared that Ruiz, imprisoned for nine months in a Mexican prison, killed her rapist in legitimate defense.