“I have every right to burn and to break”: The Mexican woman seeking justice for her daughter’s murder

Marichuy Jaimes was killed in January 2016, launching her mother’s fight. A powerful video has surfaced online of Yesnia Zamudio’s fiery speech against femicide

Darinka Rodríguez

In 2016, María de Jesús Jaimes Zamudio was thrown from a fifth-floor window in Mexico City. Marichuy, as her friends and family called her, was 19 years old and studying to be an engineer. Since then, her mother Yesnia Zamudio hasn’t stopped demanding justice for her child.

“I have every right to burn and to break. I’m not going to ask permission from anybody, because I am breaking for my daughter. Those who want to break, break. And those who want to burn, burn, and those who don’t, don’t stand in our way,” yells Zamudio in a video that has been reposted on various Twitter and Facebook pages. Between February 18 and 21, one of the most popular posts was viewed more than 1.2 million times.

The video was originally captured and published for the first time by the YouTube channel “Combatimos la Tiranía” (We Fight Tyranny). As the page administrator explains, the footage is from a demonstration in honor of Ingrid Escamilla, a 25-year-old woman whose partner killed her and cut up her body, images of which were later leaked to the press. The protest took place outside the building where she was brutally murdered. It was one month after the fourth anniversary of the death of Zamudio’s daughter.

The mother’s message has also been shared many times on Spanish social networks. Many private and public figures have expressed their support for these demonstrations against femicides, or murders committed against women, and their disgust at sexist violence. One of the most-shared messages was posted by Madrid politician Clara Serra, from the anti-austerity Unidas Podemos party. Serra wrote that she experienced “goosebumps listening to this Mexican mother.”

“Before they murdered my daughter, they had murdered many others. And what were we all doing? Sitting at home, crying and sewing. Not any more, gentlemen. It’s over. We’ve broken the silence.”

Zamudio’s voice and her fight for her daughter Marichuy have resonated for four years against the continued impunity and lack of justice. Prosecutors in Mexico City classified Jaimes’ death as a murder and it was not until September of the past year that it was reclassified as a femicide. However, no one has been detained for the death of Marichuy.

Mexican women have taken to the streets to press the government for concrete measures to combat the crisis of femicides in the country, where there is an average of 10 women killed a day. The year 2019 saw the biggest recorded number of femicides in Mexico, with 3,142 women killed.

The brutal murder of Fátima, a seven-year-old child who was tortured and killed, has stoked the anger of a population that is demanding urgent solutions. For the moment, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador hasn’t presented a clear strategy to combat these crimes, 90% of which go unsolved.

At the protest on August 16 against various cases of rape in the city at the hands of the police, Zamudio gathered with feminist groups who spray-painted several monuments. “I want to burn everything!” she yelled into a microphone.

English version by Nell Snow.

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