What Can Happen If You Catcall a Woman in Mexico

February 17th 2016

Laura Donovan

Street harassment is a worldwide problem, and a group of women in Mexico City are confronting street harassers "with confetti guns and punk rock," as noted in a recent video by AJ+.

When street harassers bother women in the organization, which is called Hijas de Violencia (Daughters of Violence), the ladies point confetti guns at the harassers, turn on their speakers, and sing "Sexista Punk." The song lyrics read, "What you've done to me is called harassment. If you do this to me this way, I will respond."

"When we are walking down the streets and someone harasses us in any way, we run after this person, we grab our confetti guns, we turn on the speakers, and we sing 'Sexista Punk,'" a woman named Ana Karen says in the video, as translated by AJ+.

The women hope to encourage fellow females to stand up to catcallers while also having fun with this particular way of humiliating harassers.

"We recommend that you have fun with it so that you're not left feeling violated from what happened and you're able to move on and still have a great day," Ana Karen explains.

Ana Beatriz, 25, who created Las Hijas de Violencia with Ana Karen, recently told Fusion that the group has faced harassment for their efforts at fighting catcalling.

“Because we’ve gone viral, it’s increased to a grand scale,” Ana Beatriz told Fusion. “We’ve received a lot of threats, a lot of trolling, talking about murder and rape. The virtual space is not a space in another world, it reflects the same.”

What people are saying about Hijas de Violencia.

Though some commenters have criticized the group's use of confetti guns to combat harassment, others have said it is a shocking but necessary way for women to protect themselves in Mexico. It's unclear what may have happened, but as of February 17, the group's Facebook page has disappeared.

Facebook comments

Mexico can be a very dangerous place for women. A 2012 report from the National Citizen Femicide Observatory found that murder of women has been on the rise in the country for several years. The report ranked Mexico sixteenth in female murders globally, and the organization also found that less than two percent of femicide cases in Mexico resulted in an arrest or sentencing. In 2007, Mexico established the General Law of Access for Women to a Life Free of Violence, but the National Citizen Femicide Observatory argued in its report that the law has been unsuccessful in effectively protecting women against violence.

Last year, journalist Andalusia Knoll told HuffPost Live about her experiences reporting on violence against women in Mexico, noting that most victims of femicide in Mexico are killed by boyfriends, husbands, ex-husbands, or male relatives.

"There is a total level of impunity. Other men know that they can kill women and nothing will happen to them,” Knoll told HuffPost Live. “Women are often just seen as just objects without rights. And when they denounce the violence, often they have no way to escape these violent situations, and there is not really a network of help."

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