Women of Atenco
Women fighting sexual torture
On May 3rd and 4th, 2006, in Texcoco and San Salvador Atenco (Mexico state), federal, state, and municipal police carried out a brutal operation to repress activists and individuals showing solidarity with the social movement Peoples’ Front in Defense of the Land (Frente de Pueblos en defensa de la Tierra). The conflict arose because of a police aggression against a group of florists, which generated protests and a disproportionate reaction by the State.
In this context, at least 27 women suffered sexual torture by police officers during their detention and transfer. Eleven of them have decided to continue their fight for justice and have taken their case before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which has admitted their petition. In this section you will find materials to learn more about their fight for justice and dignity.
On 3 and 4 May 2006, at least 2500 municipal, State and federal security officers deployed a police operation in the towns of Texcoco and San Salvador Atenco, State of Mexico. The operation ended with 47 women assaulted physically and/or sexually by the officers of the law. Also a result of the excessive use of force were the deaths of two young men: Francisco Javier Cortés Santiago (14 years old) on May 3 in Texcoco and the college student Ollin Alexis Benhumea, who was wounded in the head by a projectile, falling into a coma on May 4 in Atenco and died hospitalized a few days later.
The Atenco operation of the 3rd and 4th of May of 2006 was certainly a strategy perpetrated from the State apparatus to demobilize social movements; to avoid the social protest and resistance to the systematic practice of human rights violations perpetrated by the State. In the days of such barbarism, it is clear that abuse and sexual torture against women are understood as a weapon of war, where women mean spaces that you possess and, therefore, dominate.