Venezuelan Feminist Groups Protest Impunity in Femicide Case

Inaction by authorities in the case of murdered young woman Mayell Hernandez has provoked a wave of protests led by Venezuelan feminist groups.

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Mayell Hernandez was murdered on September 3rd, allegedly at the hands of her former partner
Mayell Hernandez was murdered on September 3rd, allegedly at the hands of her former partner. (Facebook)
By Ricardo Vaz
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Pays de Gex, France, September 20, 2018 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan feminist groups mobilized in the capital this week in response to the recent murder of a 29-year-old in what is broadly being decried as a femicide.

On September 3, Mayell Hernandez Naranjo, a 29 year-old student, dancer, and mother of a 2 year-old infant, was murdered in her home in Charallave, Miranda State.

Friends and relatives of Hernandez revealed that she had been stabbed and strangled in the middle of the night, with her ex-partner, and father of her child, William Infante, widely identified as the most likely suspect.

According to reports, Infante was detained for a short time by the Venezuelan Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigation body (CICPC), but despite the aforementioned precedents, he was released on the grounds of an alleged lack of evidence.

Meanwhile, activist groups are calling the incident a “typical case of femicide” and demanding action.

“Mayell’s is a typical case of femicide, in that she had separated herself from her partner, denounced him to the authorities and even secured a restraining order, but he refused to accept it and, in a classical macho perspective, believed she belonged to him,” Daniella Inojosa, of the Feminist Spider Network (Red Araña Feminista), explained to Venezuelanalysis.

Investigative blog La Tabla reported at the time that the case was not registered by the CICPC, nor by the Forensic Medicine service, and also that it has yet to be taken up by the Public Prosecution. The impunity surrounding this case has generated a campaign for justice, led by Venezuelan feminist organizations. Hernandez’s family also put out a statement demanding action from the authorities and calling for solidarity.

“This case reveals a lot about the inefficiency of the police and the prosecutor’s office in dealing with these kinds of cases. Despite denunciations, cases of domestic violence and violence against women, for cultural reasons, are not seen as public offences or as serious enough to be addressed. This is also at the root of impunity,” Inojosa added.

A Twitter campaign with the hashtag #NoEstamosTodasFaltaMayell (“We are not all here, Mayell is missing”), organized by several feminist groups, took the social network by storm on Wednesday evening, becoming the top trending topic in the country, with grassroots organizations and public figures joining the chorus condemning the murder and demanding justice in Hernandez’s case.

“Mayell was another femicide. Mayell Hernandez Naranjo was 29-year-old, a student at UNEARTE, a dancer, a member of the Madre Hipolita Pioneer Camp, and mother of a two year-old infant called Amaloha. We’re not all here, Mayell is missing,” tweeted the feminist collective En Tinta Violeta.

This was the first step in a public pressure campaign. On Friday, a banner demonstration will take place as well as a press conference from feminist organizations alongside friends and relatives of Mayell Hernandez, while Monday will see a march to the Public Prosecutor’s office to ramp up pressure on authorities to intervene in the case of Mayell and all other victims of femicides.

The Venezuelan National Assembly passed the Organic Law for Women's Right to a Violence-Free Life in 2014, which lists 21 forms of violence against women and establishes them as public, punishable offences. Nevertheless, activists point out that as long as violence against women remains culturally acceptable the law will not be properly enforced by authorities.

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