While she was asleep, the man approached her, beat her, tore her clothes, and raped her. As she tried to flee, she killed him in self-defence.
A Mexican woman who killed a man while defending himself when he attacked and raped her in 2021 has been sentenced to more than six years in prison, a decision her defense team called “discriminatory” and vowed to appeal in the case.
The ruling against Roxana Ruiz angered observers and feminist groups, who said it showed the depth of gender-based violence and reflected Mexico’s poor record in bringing perpetrators of sexual violence to justice.
“It would be a bad precedent if this ruling continues,” said lawyer Angel Carrera. “It sends a message to women that if they are raped they have no right to defend themselves.”
In the controversial decision by a court in Mexico, the judge confirmed that Ruiz had been raped, but found the 23-year-old guilty of murder “due to excessive use of self-defence”.
The judge said, “Having hit the man on the head would have been enough to defend herself.”
In addition to her imprisonment, the court ordered Ruiz to pay more than $16,000 in damages to the family of the man who raped her.
The rape incident dates back to May 2021, when Ruiz was selling fried potatoes in Mexico.
After work, while having a beer with her friend, she met a man and they spent the night together in the neighborhoods of the city.
At the end of the meeting, the man asked her to accompany her to her house and sleep there due to the distance of his place of residence, so Ruiz agreed, on the condition that he sleep in another room and on a mattress that is placed on the floor, so the man agreed.
But while she was sleeping, the man approached her, beat her, tore her clothes, and raped her. While she was trying to escape from him, she killed him in self-defense.
In her panic, Ruiz put the man’s body in a bag and dragged it into the street, where the police found it and stopped it.
Despite telling police she had been raped, Carrera maintained that a forensic medical examination was never conducted, a crucial step in prosecuting sexual violence cases.
Instead, an officer responded that she “maybe wanted to have sex with the man at first and then changed her mind,” he said.
Sexual assault cases in Mexico
In a previous interview with the Associated Press, Ruiz said, “I regret what I did, but if I hadn’t done it, I would have died.”
She added, “It is clear that the state wants to silence us, to make us submissive and dead.”
Women’s rights groups have repeatedly accused the Mexican authorities of re-victimizing the survivors because of the court rulings.
Government data showed that nearly half of Mexican women had experienced sexual violence in their lifetime.
In 2022, the Mexican government recorded a total of 3,754 femicides, an average of 10 per day.
This number is likely to be just a fraction of the real number due to the increasing number of disappearances and the lack of reporting of violence in the country.