Killing of 7-year-old girl sparks anger in Mexico over violence against women and girls

By Haley Ott

/ CBS News

London — The killing of a 7-year-old girl in Mexico has reignited anger in the country days after another high profile murder caused widespread protests over the rate of homicides against women and girls.

The body of Fatima — Mexican prosecurtors don't give out the full names of victims — who went missing on February 11, was discovered over the weekend. She was seen leaving her school with an unknown woman last week, and her family said that she could have been found alive if authorities had responded appropriately. Her mother, Maria Magdalena Antón, said investigators had made her travel across the city and wait for hours to file a missing persons report.

Parents gathered alongside Fatima's family to protest outside her school and home on Monday, according to reports, and social media videos showed them shouting and holding signs demanding justice. Fatima's name became a global trend on Twitter, and the hashtag #JusticiaParaFatima, or Justice for Fatima, was used over 170,000 times.

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"Justice has to be done, for my daughter and for all women," her mother said.

Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum accompanied Antón to file charges and pick up her daughter's body.

"We are going to accompany the family, and justice must be done," she said.

The number of women murdered in Mexico increased in 2019, according to government statistics, with 10 women killed there every day. The overall murder rate in the country also rose in 2019 to the highest levels since current record-keeping began.

Fatima's death came days after a 25-year-old woman, Ingrid Escamilla, was allegedly brutally killed by her boyfriend. The suspect, who has been arrested, reportedly confessed to mutilating Escamilla's body with a knife and flushing parts of it down the toilet.

Photos of a skinned corpse, which had apparently been leaked by police, were published by local media and sparked widespread anger. The words "femicide state" were written by protesters in red across the door of Mexico's National Palace.

"It enrages us how Ingrid was killed, and how the media put her body on display," demonstrators said Friday, according to reports from the scene.

A number of protests have taken place in Mexico City in recent weeks over the killings of women, but Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador didn't have much patience for questions about violence against women, The Associated Press reported.

"This issue has been manipulated a lot in the media… I don't want the issue just to be women's killings," Obrador said Monday.
"We are working so that there won't be any more women's killings," he continued.

First published on February 18, 2020 / 1:43 PM

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Haley Ott

Haley Ott is the digital reporter/producer at CBS News in London.