Two Indigenous Mexican Rape Victims Awarded Damages
Last week, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued separate rulings that the Mexican government must pay damages to two indigenous women who were raped by military soldiers in 2002. The court stated that Mexico failed to uphold "the rights to personal integrity, dignity and legal protection of Ines Fernandez and Valentina Rosendo," according to the Latin America News Dispatch.
The Associated Press reported that Rosendo was 17 years old when she was raped. At the time of the incident, Rosendo was approached by eight soldiers, who asked her if she had seen a masked suspect. Rosendo, unsure of the suspect's whereabouts, was beaten and raped by the soldiers. A month later, 11 soldiers approached Fernandez at her house. Faced with a language barrier, Fernandez was unable to answer their questions and was subsequently raped
The women, both from the southern Mexican state of Guerrero, will each be compensated with judgments upwards of $100,000. Rosendo told the Associated Press, "If the government has a little bit of dignity, it should accept they were mistaken so I can go on with my life...They didn't want to hear me in my own country." Additionally, the court ordered Mexico to take public action to acknowledge its international responsibility to victims of sexual violence and modernize their legislation so that violations of human rights will not fall under military jurisdiction in investigations, according to the Latin American Herald Tribune.
Media Resources: Associated Press 10/4/10; Latin America News Dispatch 10/5/10; Latin American Herald Tribune 10/11/10