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Feminists unveil a monument to protest violence against women

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
A monument to feminist power, which depicts an upward fist emerging from a makeshift grave marker, contrasts with the Christmas village erected across the street. Photo: Lee Steele

Just meters from where they spraypainted a statue honoring the city’s founders, feminist protestors unveiled a monument to protest ongoing violence against women. 

The monument was set up to commemorate International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which was observed Thursday. 

The simple structure, which depicts an upward fist emerging from a makeshift grave marker, contrasts with the Christmas village erected also at the remate of the Paseo de Montejo.

During the unveiling and subsequent march, the protestors could be heard chanting slogans like “Mérida is not white, it’s femicidal,” — making reference to Mérida’s nickname, “the white city.” 

One of the messages on the wall behind the feminist monument read “you have taken away so much from us, that you have also taken our fear.” Photo: Lee Steele

Mexican law defines femicide as violence resulting in death as the result of the victim’s gender and is punishable by up to 50 years in prison. 

Protestors also spray-painted messages and hung placards with the names of women who had fallen victim to violence, as well as messages to their aggressors. Photo: Lee Steele

In recent years, femicide and violence against women have been on the rise across Mexico, despite a growing social awareness of the problem. 

Earlier: What is behind AMLO’s confusing rhetoric surrounding violence against women?

Though most sectors of society in Yucatán recognize the problem of violence against women, there are still a handful of factions who claim that such protests are political in nature. 

Feminist activists in Yucatán also used the occasion to launch a website designed to draw attention to femicide in the state. The website has a counter which claims that 79 women have lost their lives to femicide in Yucatán since 2008, as well as a section with the victims’ names.

Screenshot of the femicide counter on YucatanFeminicida.org. Image: Courtesy

The graffiti was contained to a single wall. The nearby monument to the Montejo, which has been vandalized several times by feminist activists was on this occasion spared, possibly as part of a deal with city officials.

The protest paralleled sentiments echoed across several other cities in Mexico and across the world in cities including Paris, Istanbul, and Madrid. 

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women was designated by the UN to raise awareness of the fact that women around the world are subject to rape, domestic violence, and other forms of abuse.

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