Outrage and Legal Challenge Follow Sentencing of Woman Who Defended Herself Against Rape in Mexico

Roxana Ruiz, a Mexican woman who fatally defended herself against a man who attacked and raped her in 2021, is now being sentenced to over six years in prison, Megan Janetsky and Fernanda Pesce report for the Associated Press. The decision has been met with widespread criticism, with her legal defense, describing it as “discriminatory” and vowing to appeal. Advocates for women’s rights argue that the ruling reflects the pervasive gender-based violence in Mexico and the country’s inadequate track record in holding perpetrators accountable. While acknowledging that Ruiz had been raped, the court found her guilty of “homicide with excessive use of legitimate defense,” suggesting that hitting the assailant in the head would have been sufficient. Ruiz has been ordered to pay $16,000 in “reparations” to the man’s family. Women’s rights groups have repeatedly accused Mexican authorities of retraumatizing survivors and failing to approach cases with a gender perspective. The sentencing has raised concerns about discouraging women from reporting gender-based violence or defending themselves. Protesters in front of the courthouse demanded justice, while Ruiz tearfully thanked feminist groups and her supporters, expressing her hope to reunite with her young son.

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