MEXICO CITY, May 18 (AP) – A Mexican woman who killed the man who defended her when he attacked and raped her in 2021 has been sentenced to more than six years in prison, her legal defender said. The decision was “discriminatory” and vowed to appeal on Tuesday.
The ruling against Roxana Ruiz has drawn outrage from experts and feminist groups, who say it illustrates the extent of gender-based violence and Mexico’s failure to bring perpetrators of it to justice Bad record.
Her defense attorney, Ángel Carrera, said: “If that sentence stands, it would set a bad precedent. It sends a message to women: you know what, the law says you can Defend yourself, but only up to a point.” “He raped you, but you have no right to do anything.”
The AP does not normally identify a sexual assault victim, but Ruiz allowed her to be identified and to participate in public demonstrations led by activists who support her.
While a Mexican state court ruled on Monday that Ruiz had been raped, it said the 23-year-old was guilty of homicide by “excessive self-defense,” adding that hitting the man on the head was sufficient self-defense. Ruiz also Ordered to pay more than $16,000 in restitution to the family of the man who raped her.
In May 2021, Ruiz was selling french fries in Nezahualcoyotl, one of 11 municipalities in the state of Mexico that continues to issue gender-based warnings about femicide and another about forced disappearances of women.
Over a beer with her friend Ruiz, an indigenous Mixteca woman and single mother from the state of Oaxaca, she meets a man she’s seen in the neighborhood. After hanging out, he offered to walk her home and later asked to stay overnight because it was late and he was far from home.
Ruiz agreed to let him sleep on a mattress on the floor. But while she was sleeping, he climbed into her bed, beat her, tore her clothes and raped her, according to Ruiz’s defense attorney, Carrera. Ruiz fought back and hit him on the nose, and he threatened to kill her. During the struggle to break free, Carrera said she killed him in self-defense.
In a panic, Ruiz bagged the man’s body and dragged it down the street, where passing police arrested her.
Despite telling police she was raped, Carrera said a forensic examination, a crucial step in prosecuting sexual violence cases, was never performed. Instead, an officer responded that she may have initially wanted to have sex with the man and then changed her mind, he said.
“I regret what I did, but if I hadn’t done it, I would be dead today,” Ruiz told The Associated Press last year, adding, “Obviously, the country wants to We shut up, expect us to obey, want us locked in, want us to die.”
Women’s rights groups have repeatedly accused Mexican authorities of revictimizing survivors and failing to judge cases from a gender perspective.
Ruiz was sentenced to nine months in prison for excessive self-defense homicide and was eventually released pending trial.
On Wednesday, the court responded to the public outcry over the verdict, saying the judge did examine the case from a gender perspective. It also noted that the man was briefly knocked unconscious by a blow to the head during the struggle, which the court found was “sufficient to deter a physical attack”.
The woman’s lawyer said the court’s defense was “completely false”. Carrera said that while there was some evidence that the attacker had suffered a severe blow to the head, it was never proven that the man was unconscious. He said the defense wanted to challenge the court’s statement on appeal.
Despite the sentence, Ruiz remains free pending further judicial steps.
Nearly half of all Mexican women experience sexual violence in their lifetime, according to government data.
In 2022, the Mexican government registered a total of 3,754 women – an average of 10 per day – as being intentionally killed, a significant increase from the previous year. Only a third were investigated as femicide.
The number may be a fraction of the actual number due to the rising number of missing persons and the lack of reports of violence in the country.
Angelica Ospina, a gender researcher with the International Crisis Group in Mexico, said she feared the sentence could empower victims while preventing women from reporting gender-based violence or defending themselves.
Ospina said the case shows how “normalized” gender-based violence is in Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America.
“When a woman is defending herself, the system is particularly effective in dealing with and sentencing her, regardless of the conditions under which she killed the man,” Ospina said.
Meanwhile, outside the courthouse, women carried signs chanting “Justice!” A tearful Ruiz stood before the crowd, thanking feminist groups and the women who supported her throughout the years-long judicial process.
Speaking to the crowd, she thought of her four-year-old son.
“My son, I want to see him again. I want to be with him and be the one to watch him grow,” Ruiz said. (Associated Press)
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the body of content may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)