Mothers in Resistance: From Victims to Advocates

Mothers of femicide victims created a network where they support each other and also provide guidance to relatives of those who have been murdered.

Nota: Este contenido tiene una versión en español

Mothers of femicide victims have created a resistance to confront femicidal violence in Mexico, through the campaign "Nos van a ver juntas" accompanied by the Observatorio Ciudadano Nacional del Feminicidio (OCNF) and Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir (CDD).

Through this campaign, they have become advocates, to fight for their cases and support others from their experience.

In an interview for Poblanerí, María de la Luz Estrada, coordinator of OCNF, shared that the campaign arose to give voice to the women murdered in Mexico for gender reasons, as well as to make visible this type of violence that exists in the country, and to support mothers by guiding them on what to do when their daughter is a victim of femicide.

She considers that the accompaniment they provide "is a form of empowerment for women who have to know that they have rights."

Thus arises a collective accompaniment integrated by people from the movement and mothers who, with their experience, help other victims who still do not know about the legal processes they must go through, that is why she calls them"mothers in resistance."

Irinea Buendía
Irinea Buendía Cortez, mother of Mariana Lima Buendía, victim of femicide, giving support to the case of Zyanya Estefanía Figueroa Becerril; next to members of OCNF. (Photo: Karen Mojica/Express Media)

Among the defenders within the campaign there are at least two similar cases: they began to be investigated as suicide when in reality they are feminicide.

"The work is done collectively, because it is an accompaniment where some have already gone through it, so they help to make the transition of the one who is going to live it less painful. It is a 'walking together', and saying 'I accompany you, so that you don't have to go through it yourself', she comments.

María Patricia Becerril Gómez

María Patricia Becerril Gómez, mother of Zyanya Estefanía Figueroa Becerril, explains that her daughter was doing medical residency at the Hospital Para el Niño Poblano during 2018.

On May 15, she received a call informing her of her death, which despite being violent, the authorities handled it as suicide.

María Patricia Becerril Gómez
María Patricia Becerril Gómez at the facilities of the Criminal Justice Center of Puebla, asked again that the alleged suicide of Zyanya be investigated with a gender perspective. (Photo: Juan Carlos Sanchez Diaz/Express Media)

She points out that the authorities know that there is a protocol that indicates that when there is a violent death of a woman, it is necessary to treat it with a gender perspective and as a possible femicide; however, in her case this was not the case.

"I would have liked to know which door to go to in order to have that support. I would have really liked to have known from the beginning that there was a National Citizen Observatory on Feminicide, where they would have been able to support me from that beginning and the story would have been totally different for us,", she explains.

She says that for a mother of a victim, the event itself represents a difficult situation to bear, the road becomes heavier when you do not have knowledge about what to do, how to act and where to ask for support.

"We know of cases of colleagues who have been there for more than 10 to 8 years. It is a whole life for us, because for some of them their daughters were only children, others of us have other children and being in the processes, isolates us a lot from being in their company and their needs, but they understand the need for us to be attentive and to make the expert opinions and cases", she explains.

That is why she joined the campaign "Nos van a ver juntas", where she finds support in other mothers or relatives of victims of femicide and gives accompaniment to others who are just living the process.

Observatorio Ciudadano Nacional del Feminicidio
Members of the feminicide protest outside the Puebla Congress during 2020. (Photo: Agencia Es imagen)

Regarding Zyanya's case, she comments that she is in a deadline given by the Control Judge to the Puebla Public Ministry to review "errors in which the investigation incurs"and to investigate under a gender perspective.

María Magdalena Velarde Tepos

María Magdalena Velarde Tepos, mother of Fernanda Sánchez Velarde, mentions that her daughter suffered violence from her partner, who murdered her by hanging her in the yard of their house, to simulate a suicide.

However, the medical and forensic reports showed that she presented injuries such as: blows on her face, stab wounds on her arms, strangulation wounds on her neck, broken nose and jaw, and others.

After the death of her daughter, in 2014, Maria Velarde was unaware, for example, that she had right to a psychologist and a lawyer.

"I would have liked that, just as the guilty parties are read their rights, I would have been read what rights I had, because the authorities never say what rights we have.", she adds.

In that sense, she explains to Poblanerí that she began to have a notion of her rights until the moment she was accompanied by the OCNF; therefore, with her experience, she maintains that the authorities need to support the families of victims.

Another of the irregularities she points out is the fact that there is corruption, as she mentions that in the case of Fernanda the authorities may have received money to pass it off as suicide, despite the evidence indicating that it was femicide.

After seven years of struggle, in 2021, the case was reclassified as a femicide. During that time, two of her children were killed in the search for justice. It will be until December 9, 2021 when an oral trial will be held on the case.

"On this walk, of asking for justice, in 2017 my other two sons were murdered. They were kidnapped and tortured. I hope they already sentence this man, because it is the least he deserves," she exposes.

With all her experience, Maria Magdalena can support other mothers and families, so that their process has accompaniment and they can be advised on what to do or why things are done in certain ways, without neglecting the rights they should know.

How to request support from the National Citizen Observatory of Feminicide?

For anyone wishing to request the accompaniment provided by the OCNF, it is only necessary to communicate through its website or send a message to the telephone number 55 18 32 2704.

It is important that those who wish to contact the organization identify themselves in the message and explain part of their case.

María de La Luz Estrada indicates that the guidance and support they provide is free of charge, and ranges from legal to psychological, among other aspects, so that justice can be achieved in their respective cases.


Translation by Karla Giselle Bonales Ramírez