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Friday, July 30, 2021

Women in Mexico turn to social media for protection against violence

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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.
Social media platforms such as WhatsApp are increasingly being used by women to help them stay safe. Photo: Courtesy

Women in Mexico are building ties over the Internet to find safety.

The network works by connecting women with each other across platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook to share their locations. 

The central idea is that if a woman on the network were to run into a dangerous situation, she would notify her group and ask for aid. 

Given the success of the initiative in cities such as Veracruz and Mérida, the network is now beginning to extend to smaller communities such as Valladolid.

“This is a great way for women to feel safer because they know that if they run into trouble, other women can come to help them out. It is especially helpful for women who leave their jobs late and have to move around on public transit,” said a group coordinator and activist, Mila Abril Rodíguez.

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For years now it has not been uncommon for women to share their locations on WhatsApp with friends or family when leaving the house on their own, especially after dark or when out on a date. 

The trend has also caught on in several different countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada and India. 

“Me and my friends don’t say ‘text me’ when you’re home anymore. We go a step further and have live location sharing just to leave a digital footprint, just in case,” said a user on Twitter. 

Violence against women has worsened over the past few years in Mexico: femicides are up 8.5%. But President Andrés Manuel López Obrador argues that the statistical increase is due to more accurate reporting instead of a worsening situation.

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