Standing Up Against Violence
Guanajuato is a dangerous place for women. Fifty-nine percent of women in Guanajuato age 15 and older have experienced violence. In 2019, there were 303 murders of women, at least 15 of which were femicides. That’s not acceptable to Veronica Cruz, founder of Las Libres. In 2000, she and other activists founded Las Libres, a feminist organization in Guanajuato, the most conservative state in the country. In 2006 she was the the first Mexican human rights activist to be awarded the Defender of Human Rights award from Human Rights Watch for her work with women's right to access legal and medical services. In 2010, More magazine named her as “the most dangerous woman in the world.”
Cruz has agitated for stronger legislation for sexual violence and insisted that the laws which are in place are enforced. She has pushed authorities to recognize the extent of femicide in Mexico, as well as gender violence, enabled by a culture of impunity for crimes against women. She has inspired, mobilized and led the struggle to secure fundamental rights, including reproductive rights, for marginalized women and girls in the state of Guanajuato and throughout Mexico. Because of the work of Las Libres, legal and social justice has been obtained for every woman murdered in the city of Guanajuato since 2014, with guilty verdicts, prison sentences and access to compensation for the victim’s families.
After a five year cumbersome process, Las Libres was successful this year when an Official Declaration of a Gender Alert was issued in Guanajuato. A gender alert is activated in areas experiencing high levels of violence against women. It obligates authorities to implement measures that protect women’s rights and physical and legal security, conduct in depth investigations into acts of violence against women and take steps to address the problem.
Simultaneous translation will be provided my Maritere Dobarganes.
Ancha de San Antonio 15
San Miguel de Allende, GUA 37700
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