“All women, including girls and teenagers, have the right to a life free of violence.”
— UN children’s agency.
However, it seems that not all girls are able to exercise that right.
16-year-old girl, Lucia Perez, was drugged, violently raped, tortured and killed in a coastal town on October 8th in Argentina. The young girl was abducted outside her school in Mar del Plata by a gang who then drugged her, and repeatedly raped her until she bled out from internal injuries. She reportedly died at a drug rehab clinic the next day where her attackers dropped her off after washing her and putting her clothes back on. The prosecutor told reporters last week that Perez was drugged with cocaine and suffered “inhumane sexual aggression” that triggered cardiac arrest.
The brutality and horrific violence of the rape and murder has sparked widespread protests around the country and the continent.
A group known as Not One Less, which advocates for crime prevention and justice for victims of sexual assault, organized protests in Argentina and other Latin American countries in order to express their outrage over the death of Lucia Perez. On Wednesday, protestors dressed in mourning for what they called “Black Wednesday” and there was a call for a one-hour sit-in nationwide to draw attention to the alarming rate at which women are murdered in Argentina.
According to Permanent Assembly for Human Rights, a woman is killed once every 30 hours in Argentina.
The invitation to the event read: “We will strike. We want us to live. Enough of machista violence.”
The story of Lucia Perez is just one more story in the global narrative surrounding rape and violence against women. It is a horrible reality facing women on a daily basis.
We cannot continue to read stories like this in the media. We cannot continue dismissing these stories because “things like that don’t happen here.” They do. They happen every day, and they happen everywhere.
According to Amnesty International, at least one woman in every three around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Amnesty says, “Violence against women is rooted in a global culture of discrimination which denies women equal rights with men and which legitimizes the appropriation of women’s bodies for individual gratification or political ends.”
We are all Lucia.
We must all stand in solidarity and end this culture of discrimination. We are thousands of women across different continents sharing the same horrifying experiences. It is time to raise our voices.