Domestic violence is an issue that unfortunately occurs in countries around the world. To some places, including the country of Mexico, violence against women is referred to as a “pandemic.” In 2016, it was recorded by the Representative of UN Women in Mexico that 63% of women in the country have suffered abuse by men. To try and get a hold of the problem, the government has put numerous laws in place to try and help women live life free of domestic violence. Of the many passionate people who want to get involved, accomplished Mexican lawyer Diego Ruiz Duran is one of them.
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the amount of 911 phone calls associated with gender based violence have rapidly increased in Mexico. Duran, one of the top criminal lawyers in the country, describes the response to these calls as “unsatisfactory.” He states in an interview, “”Although there is the General Law on Equality between Women and Men, the General Law on Women’s Access to a Life Free from Violence and the General Victims Act, the progress that has been made in eradicating femicides could improve if a stronger legal framework were implemented.” Diego Ruiz Duran believes that the biggest challenge concerning gender equality, is eliminating impunity. He admits that Mexico does have extensive legal instruments, however he thinks that measures must be taken to guarantee the full evaluation of cases that are reported.
In another interview after numerous feminist protests occured in the country, Duran expressed the importance of legal framework. But beyond that, he implored that having the General Law on Women’s Access to a Life Free of Violence is an “indispensable” requirement, “Beyond the legal framework for the protection of victims in our country, we must be aware that much remains to be legislate with a gender perspective and be much more sensitive to the situations that women live daily.”
The purpose of penalties is to fix mistakes, correct wrongful actions, and improve a person’s behavior. Without these penalties put in place and enforced, how will a country truly evolve? Duran is disappointed in knowing that even in 2020, women are considered to be “second-rate citizens.” Mexico is sadly known as a country that has a history of femicide. This is when a woman is targeted and killed solely based on her gender. From 2011-2016, there was an average of 7.6 female homicides per day. Another disturbing statistic is that from 2018-2019, femicides increased 10%. It is the brutal reality based on statistics and facts that make Diego Ruiz Duran so passionate about fighting for the rights of women, as well as holding the government accountable when necessary.
In addition to being targets of violence, women in Mexico are also subject to stricter punishments if they disobey the law. According to a study conducted by the organization Reinserta Fernada Dorantes, women in the country receive higher sentences than men. If a woman displays behavior that is considered reprimandable, the social reproach is a lot stronger than it would be for a man.
As a successful lawyer and advocate for gender equality, Duran displays a level of determination helps him fight for change. The country has a lot of work to do to help control the issue of female discrimination, but with people like him fighting for their rights, women can hope that one day they can live peacefully without having to worry about inequality. Domestic violence remains an issue all over, but women’s voices are being heard and steps are being taken to push the problem further and further away from reality.