Sunday, November 6, 2011

State senate acts on behalf of woman almost murdered by ex-boyfriend

Acoge el Congreso de la Unión caso de yucateca agredida
Grettel Rodríguez, paradigma de la violencia de género en México

Grettel Rodríguez, A case study in gender-based violence in Mexico

By Eduardo Cabrera Ruiz
Translated by Edward V. Byrne for The Yucatan Times
August 10, 2011

Grettel Rodríguez Almeida
Mérida, Yucatán -
In an unprecedented case focused on combating violence against women in the Yucatan, a commission of the state congress has unanimously approved a proposal asking the Mexican National Women’s Institute to take "all appropriate measures" to protect a local woman, Grettel Rodríguez Almeida, from assault or harassment by Germán Alyn Ortega Hernández, and to assist state authorities in protecting her from physical or psychological violence or the threat of same by Ortega.  Ortega nearly killed Grettel during an attack several years ago.

With the Yucatan still reeling from several recent cases where domestic violence took the lives of women, Grettel’s experience lays bare the ugly reality of the subject.  The court system here bears partial responsibility for cases such as Grettel’s, which have shown a marked increased in recent years.

Grettel’s case was showcased in the Yucatán state senate as a classic example of how gender-based violence remains firmly entrenched in Mexico.  The common denominator in virtually all cases of violence against women and so-called “femicides” which have recently shook the Yucatan is that there was a previous history of abuse and threats.   Grettel survived a murder attempt in her own home after she broke up with her boyfriend, Ortega Hernández.  Ortega, who had a violent disposition, had previously threatened to kill her and then commit suicide.  On the day of the attack he stabbed her in her left arm and stomach, and carved deep wounds on both side of her face.  The most dangerous injury was to the right side of her neck, where he attempted to slash her jugular vein.  She was rushed to the hospital by her parents, covered in blood, and emergency procedures were begun to suture the wounds immediately – without benefit of anesthesia – to save her life.

Germán Alyn Ortega Hernández
After the attack Ortega Hernández fled the scene, but police were alerted immediately and he was quickly captured, still carrying the knife he used to assault Grettel.  Later, she testified in court as to the details of the assault.  Ortega was convicted but was sentenced to less than two years, despite the fact that he admitted the offense and presented an obvious risk of recidivism.

Today Grettel lives in constant fear.  She has moved from her former residence, terrified that Ortega will come looking for her again.   In response to Grettel’s demands for justice for herself and for her family, local authorities decided to reclassify crimes like the one committed in her case from aggravated assault to attempted murder.

The Yucatán senate has called upon the three branches of the Mexican federal government (executive, legislative and judicial) to review relevant laws, as well as current criminal procedures, with a view towards promoting gender equality and protecting women like Grettel from domestic violence.  The senate also called upon the Mexican National Commission on Human Rights to intervene on behalf of Grettel and her family, and to do everything within its power to assist them.  A similar request was approved by the senate for presentation to the National Women’s Institute, an advocacy group that works with government authorities to protect women’s rights and defend their legal guarantees.

Oct. 31, 2012 - Mexican Supreme Court hands legal victory to woman almost killed by boyfriend

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