Mexico: Sexual violence against university students (Part 1)

Mexico, April (SEMlac Special). – Universities and other higher education
 facilities have become really dangerous places for women (both professors
 and students). For example, 49.3 percent of women students at the National
 Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) have endured gender violence.

 The Executive Commission on Victims Care (CEAV) indicated that, out of
 600,000 sexual- crime cases, only 20,000 are actually taken to court.

 Despite decades-old gender studies, abusers still go unpunished, no
 victim-care protocols are under implementation, and no effective solutions
 are devised.

 A journalistic research by SEMlac has shown that indifference is now being
 compounded by the efforts of the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare to
 take abusers back to work, including professor Enrique González.

 After a long process, a rapist at UNAM has, for the first time ever, been
 sentenced to nine years in prison.

 Private universities make no room for gender analysis. They have no
 appropriate victim care protocols despite a constitutional mandate, a

 federal policy and a law on women’s access to violence-free settings.

 A few weeks ago, González organized a meeting to continue harassing María C.
 Rodríguez and Clementina Correa, who had filed suits against their
 colleague, a “human-rights specialist.”

 According to the UNAM Gender Study Program, which includes surveys and
 analyses, 49.3 percent of women students (34,642) have endured some form of
 violence.

 On the other hand, Autonomous Metropolitan University (UAM) professor Mary
 Goldsmith, who has pioneered gender studies in the country, indicated that
 sexual violence is commonplace at campuses.

 Jenny Cooper, a former professor at the School of Economics, believes that
 there are no procedures in place to prevent, deal with and punish sexual
 violence against women (professors and students).

 Five years ago, the National Institute of Women (INMUJERES) had formulated
 formal recommendations to develop protocols from a gender and human-rights
 perspective.


 A research work by Arturo Ilizaliturri, a member of the Latin American
 Network of Young Journalists, revealed that, out of 32 local autonomous
 universities, only four have protocols in place to fight sexual abuse.

 International legal consultant Andrea Medina told SEMlac that these
 instruments should be both clear and specific to avoid legal gaps.

 University rector Hugo Aboites has systematically refused to meet with
 victims.
 González’ case is now at the Conciliation and Arbitration Board, which has
 since 2012 banned harassment by employers and colleagues and has decided to
 dismiss those found guilty.

 Some hope

 “In 2011, UAM-Xochimilco undertook an institutional program that has
 included a plan to prevent violence against women,” said its manager
 Guadalupe Huacuz.

“After several decades of sustained efforts, a network of higher education

institutions has been established to discuss gender violence intervention
and control methods,” stressed jurist Andrea Medina.

The list of universities with protocols under implementation includes the
Autonomous University of Sinaloa and the universities of San Nicolás de

 Hidalgo, Veracruz, and Quintana Roo. The former covers only cases at its
facilities and the latter, only faculty members.

 Out of eight universities, merely one addresses sexual crimes. The others
 just deal with “immoral acts, lacks of respect, hostility situations,
drunkenness, and forgery.”

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