Hundreds of women gather in the streets of Mexico City, calling on government officials to change sexual assault laws. Courtesy of AP Photos

Pink glitter protests

Women rally against femicide throughout Mexico City

Hundreds of people, mostly women, gathered in the streets of Mexico City, calling on government officials to change sexual assault laws beginning on Aug. 12, when one demonstration group dumped a bucket of pink glitter onto the city’s security chief. 

Human Rights Watch reported violence against women as a serious issue in Mexico as “laws do not adequately protect women and girls against domestic and sexual violence” and some “contradict international standards.” 

“During the march, we threw glitter at people watching us, we threw it everywhere,” feminist illustrator Mariana “Maremoto” (“Tsunami”) Lorenzo Contreras told Teen Vogue. “We wanted to leave a pink stain on the street. We want the violence that we experience as women in this country to be like glitter: impossible to ignore.”

According to TIME, the “glitter protests” in Mexico City were inspired by the popular belief that authorities were not properly investigating two rape accusations involving two teenage girls. One of these cases involved the rape of a 17-year-old girl by four police officers

“We travel daily with the fear that when we leave home, we will be harassed in the streets, harassed in public transport, work or school,” a public letter released by the protest’s organizers stated, according to TeleSUR. “Violated by our partners, friends or bosses. Raped by our boyfriends, husbands, parents, brothers, uncles, grandparents…the police themselves.”

While the protests were mostly peaceful, aside from the throwing of glitter, they escalated on Aug. 16 when Mexico City’s “Angel of Independence” statue was vandalized. Phrases like “They don’t take care of us” and “rape state” in lime green and black paint covered the monument, according to TIME

“It is an unsustainable, femicidal situation,” campaigner for women’s rights’ group Las Constituyentes and sexual assault survivor Yndira Sandoval told The Guardian. “Every day girls are going missing, women are going missing, women are being violated and raped…and we want a political response that reflects the scale of this national emergency.”

A wooden wall was put up around the “Angel of Independence” on Aug. 17 to protect the statue from any further damage. “I can tell you that [the protesters] won’t stop,” postgraduate student Sandra Aguilar-Gomez told The Guardian. “I’m certain they won’t stop. They have had enough.”

“Harassment, violence, rapes and femicides are human rights abuses that every day, girls and women in Puebla, Mexico and the world live,” the protest letter stated, according to TeleSUR.