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Mexicans march to protest violence against women

A Mexican woman holding a sign reading “To be a woman without being murdered” takes part in a protest against murders and other violence against women. PHOTO:AFP

Thousands of women of all ages marched Sunday through Mexico City, demanding justice in the case of a young woman who was kidnapped and murdered.

“It wasn’t your fault, Mara,” read a sign carried by one marcher, rejecting attempts to shift the blame on the victim, 19-year-old Mara Castilla, for having gone out alone at night.

Castilla’s body was found Friday in the neighboring state of Puebla, a week after she left a nightclub and got in a private vehicle.

Prosecutors say the driver kidnapped her and took her to a hotel, where he sexually assaulted her and strangled and beat her to death.

Afterward, he dumped the body in an area near the hotel.

The demonstrators marched from Mexico City’s Zocalo, or central plaza, to the attorney general’s office where they staged performances denouncing the inaction of the authorities in the face of violence against women.

“We live with fear and that is a reality,” said Pixie, a 27-year-old teacher who covered her face in a fuschia colored ski mask to evoke the vulnerability many women experience.

Edgar Arriaga, a 22-year-old sociology student, criticized what he said was the “criminalization of women.”

“It seems unjust to me to say that because you go out at night, because you like to party, or something like that, that it’s a justification for murder.”

Castilla’s murder was the 83rd of a woman documented in Puebla this year by civic organizations and the 59th publicly acknowledged by the state attorney’s office.

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