While levels of gender-based violence in Mexico increase, for women and girls on the move this is one of the main risks they experience, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) warned.
In northern border cities, sexual violence is the main risk perceived by 23% of asylum seekers surveyed by the IRC in early 2022. Among women, the proportion of those who considered it to be their main risk was significantly higher, reported by 60%. Human trafficking was mentioned as the second main risk (14%), followed by domestic and economic violence (13%).
Estefani Beltrán del Río, Crossborder Protection Coordinator at the IRC, said:
“Unfortunately, although the escalation of violence against women and girls in Mexico has reached critical levels, it has been normalized for so long that it is at risk of being invisibilized. A couple of months ago, for instance, it was reported that, of the more than 50 million women and girls aged 15 or over in our country, 70% had experienced some kind of violence during their lives”.
“Gender-based violence is definitely part of the everyday dangers that women face in Mexico. When women are displaced from their homes, and find themselves on the move and trying to reach safety, their exposure to this risk disproportionately increases. In a country like Mexico–that is at the same time a place of origin, transit, and potential destination for asylum seekers–we need to ensure that existing protection mechanisms are strengthened to create the conditions for women and girls to rebuild their lives free of violence.”
In the context of unprecedented displacement from, through, and towards Mexico, the IRC is providing integrated protection services as part of a regional project funded by the European Union (EU). In Mexico’s northern border, the project includes the creation of safe spaces that allow women, girls, children, and members of the LGBTQ+ community to find a physical and emotional place to receive protection services that span from psychosocial support and case management for survivors of gender-based violence to awareness activities.
The EU-funded project also includes promoting access to trustworthy and up-to-date information through InfoDigna, a digital platform that is part of the global Signpost project and powered by Zendesk. InfoDigna also provides tailored support via trained moderators that follow up on users’ cases, providing orientation and helping them connect with service providers according to their needs.