Culpable homicides against women have been rising in Mexico across the course of 2022’s summer, reaching new year-over-year levels of violence when compared to data from June, July and August of 2021.

In Mexico, culpable homicide means that a death was caused by accident or without intent, and is differentiated from femicides and intentional homicides in that regard.

According to information from the Executive Secretariat of the National System of Public Security (SESNSP), Mexico documented 344 cases of culpable homicide against women in June 2022, up 32 percent from the 256 women who lost their lives to culpable homicide against women in June 2021. July 2022 saw 326 registered cases of culpable homicide against women, up 32 percent from the 246 cases the year prior, while August had a similar rise in cases of culpable homicide against women year-over-year, going from 263 in 2021 to 321 in 2022 at a 22 percent increase.

In the first half of 2022, the Mexican states that led in registered cases of culpable homicide against women were Guanajuato with 332 cases, the State of Mexico (EdoMéx) with 189 cases, Jalisco with 178 cases and Michoacan with 168 cases.

“The states that report this increase in culpable homicide against women are entities with a lot of violence … de facto, the authority is obliged to investigate every violent death as a femicide, because there are many accidents that involve intent,” said National Citizen Observatory of Femicide (OCNF) Coordinator María de la Luz Estrada.

De la Luz Estrada pointed to July and August 2022’s year-over-year decrease in intentional femicides, which respectively reduced by 20 percent and 38 percent from 2021, as a potential red herring to Mexico’s ongoing femicide crisis, considering that many of these registered culpable homicides against women may have been murders committed with intent. 

“The decrease in femicide cannot be interpreted,” said de la Luz Estrada. “It would be absurd to say that it decreases when we are faced with the fact that the authority does not want to prove the crime’s intent or has resistance, or is slow to say that the case is still under investigation. It doesn’t really contribute to the public statistics.”

“Regularly, the violent deaths of women that occur in this context, but also the prosecutors have the power to classify that death that can be intentional, femicide or negligence, but there is a tendency not to classify them as femicides,” added director of the Justice and Human Rights Training Institute Patricia Olamendi, noting that Mexico averaged 20 murders of women per day in 2021.

The highest rates of culpable homicide against women in Mexico have occurred in states with a heavy cartel presence, said Olamendi, lending credence to the idea that these culpable homicides may have in fact been intentional. Likewise, she went on to mention that many of these murders against women are classified as manslaughter, which runs a much lighter sentence on the perpetrator.

“Regularly, this classification of culpable homicides is made up of women killed in the context of organized crime, collateral damage, women who participate, for example, in drug sales or the agreements that the prosecutors can reach with the accused persons,” said Olamendi.

Specialists like feminism expert Raquel Ramírez went on to urge the Mexican government to tackle its societal issue with violence against women at its roots.

“We must continue to insist on addressing the omissions of the state and understand that it is the generator of violence, by promoting the lack of access to justice and not placing the eradication of sexist violence on the public agenda as a priority,” said Ramírez.

“On the other hand, and although it is an uncomfortable issue for certain pressure groups, it would also be very important to investigate whether the increase in the manslaughter of women and girls is related to sexual exploitation, since, from this, sexual exploitation can make a waste of their lives and they are discarded and killed in many cases,” concluded Ramírez.


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