Roxana Ruiz Santiago cautiously peeks out earlier than opening the door. She is lower than 5 toes tall and wears blue denims and a hand-embroidered white shirt that contrasts together with her brown pores and skin. She has huge eyes and lengthy black hair; she wears a braid and on her face a smile. At 22 years outdated, she has survived tried femicide and has spent 9 months in jail, however her nightmare is just not over but. In 2021 she was imprisoned for killing her rapist and since then she has been ready for the trial to start that may decide if she is responsible of the homicide or if she is launched for performing in self-defense. She faces a sentence of as much as seven years.
In February of this 12 months, a court docket launched her from preventative detention, the place she was imprisoned for 9 months, on the situation that she doesn’t go away the state, checks in with probation each two weeks, and justify each transfer she makes to the police. Ruiz says that she lives in concern and uncertainty about her future and that of her son, a five-year-old boy. “I really feel pressure in my chest as a result of I don’t need to return to jail. I don’t know if it’s delusions of persecution, however I’m afraid that the person’s household goes to do one thing to me,” she tells a journalist from El País, as she prepares lunch.
Of the greater than 3,000 murders of ladies registered in 2021 in Mexico, based on authorities figures, greater than 370 occurred within the State of Mexico, the place Ruiz migrated on the age of 15. Since 2015, this entity within the heart of the nation has been declared on alert for gender-based violence because it is likely one of the locations with essentially the most crimes towards ladies. Nezahualcóyotl and Ecatepec had been the municipalities with essentially the most femicides reported final 12 months, with seven every. Within the early morning of Could 8, 2021, Roxana may have been a part of that statistic. At the moment he survives to inform what occurred.
“I didn’t need to kill him….”, she says and takes a deep breath after washing a mango. “If I hadn’t defended myself or, quite, if this man had managed to kill me, my mother could be the one combating for justice, and I might be lifeless,” she warns. The Prosecutor’s Workplace alleges that the way of defending herself towards her rapist was disproportionate, whereas her legal professionals demand that the case be judged from a gender perspective.
That night time, the younger lady says, she awakened when the person bodily and sexually assaulted her in her own residence. Uninterested in combating him, Roxana simply waits for the unhealthy dream to finish. “It causes me ache and disgrace that what I lived by way of is just not acknowledged, as a result of I used to be raped and I’m a survivor of a femicide,” she continues with a damaged voice that’s instantly composed.
Every little thing occurred in a short time: they struggled, she pushed him and managed to get him off her, she ran and tried to flee, however she may do nothing however seize a shirt and defend herself. “I put it on his neck, we began struggling once more, he needed to get me out from behind him… that was after we fell and I didn’t let go of the shirt due to the concern I had,” she defined.
Rox, as she likes to be known as, doesn’t crack when she slices an onion, both. She does it with the approach that solely follow can provide. At no time do her eyes cry. “Generally they do cry to me, however I can take it,” she says with a wink.
“Roxana is at all times smiling. I even inform her that within the hearings she shouldn’t be so cheerful, ”says her lawyer Ángel Carrera.
With out neglecting the onion, the younger lady replies: “They simply inform lies.” “As soon as, once I was nonetheless inside, in a listening to, the person [her assailant’s father] started to say why didn’t I’m going out and search assist, why did I’ve to kill his son. What I needed to say is that I did attempt to get out. His son didn’t let me exit, however the lawyer [the prosecutor in charge of the accusation] started to say that I’m a hazard to society”, she relates with braveness.
Ruiz’s case is paying homage to Yakiri Rubio, a younger lady who was in jail in 2013 for killing one among her rapists and was launched after being acquitted by a court docket in Mexico Metropolis, in a paradigmatic case that set precedents on the time of judging a murder because of extreme self-defense and with a gender perspective.
Roxana was launched on parole, however the Prosecutor’s Workplace insists on requesting her return to jail. “They are saying I’m going to flee, however how? If typically I don’t even have sufficient for the tickets to the courts,” questions the younger lady who has not been in a position to get a job because of her judicial state of affairs.
Whereas half-savoring freedom, Ruiz takes benefit of the time to check her case and do a lot of what she likes most, like cooking. When she was in jail, that was one among her favourite jobs to make a dwelling. That means she didn’t need to line up for “el rancho”, as they name lunchtime. The vital factor was to outlive and it was virtually by no means straightforward.
The celebrity with which Roxana entered the jail didn’t make it straightforward for her. The authorities and lots of native media reported her case in a biased means. So from the guards to the inmates, she was handled like “a ruthless killer.” She remembers that she was admitted to a 4 by 4 meter cell, the place seven different inmates lived who pressured her to sleep within the lavatory. With cockroaches as her solely companions, she by no means had a mattress, only a sheet to cowl herself.
From that place, to which she doesn’t need to return, Roxana has many recollections that she would love to have the ability to erase and lots of others that she can not inform for concern of reprisals, however regardless of every thing, now her purpose is to search out the energy to proceed combating to be heard and to have the ability to give voice to many ladies who want it. “In there are various injustices. It isn’t sufficient for them to maintain us locked up, there may be each human and psychological abuse,” she exposes.
Since her case grew to become identified, feminist organizations and teams have supported and accompanied the younger lady when she was locked up, on the road and on social networks. When she got here out they had been there to obtain her, in addition they accompanied her to hearings. The combat for justice has made her a sort of icon of feminism. The 21-year-old lady who entered jail is just not the identical because the one who got here out of it. She made it out the entrance door, head excessive and fist raised, and he or she discovered her voice.
On the entrance of her home, there are various vegetation. Amongst them, some immortelles stand out, a sort of succulent with thick and pointed leaves, which is characterised by its therapeutic properties and its unimaginable resistance even in essentially the most hostile environments. “These develop very nicely right here,” says the younger lady with a sort of complicity with the plant, also called “immortal.”
Days after the dialog, a number of steps from the place she was held in jail, Roxana leads a protest to demand justice in her case. Exterior the federal felony courts, the younger lady awaits the decision of a request from the Prosecutor’s Workplace for her to be readmitted to jail. The decide has chosen to order the choice, however lastly, the trial has a begin date.
In the meantime, Rox and her associates put together a hand-embroidered blanket that she designed herself. It’s a few lady with half a physique behind bars, holding the hand of a small baby ―who always has motivated her to maneuver ahead― A message will also be learn: “No extra imprisoned for defending my life.”
On September 1, she is going to go to trial towards the identical system that wishes her again in jail.
WRITTEN BY MARIA JULIA CASTANEDA – ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON EL PAIS – TRANSLATED AND EDITED BY PVDN
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