Chicanos Latinos Unidos advocates justice for abuse survivors

Italia Méndez, an abuse survivor, visited MCTC to speak out about the sexual, physical and mental tortures and abuse she and 47 others endured in Atenco Mexico, on May 4, 2006.

Chicanos Latinos Unidos (CLU) met Wednesday to share their stories at an event named, “We Survived Torture.” Fighter for social justice and activist Italia Méndez of the Campaign Against Political Repression and Sexual Torture, also a member of the Other Campaign, spoke against the injustices she and dozens of other women suffered in Atenco Mexico in May 2006.

Through bringing awareness to the injustices and state repression in Mexico, she hopes to put an end to the suffering and hold the state and federal police accountable for their actions.

“For us, it’s important to denounce and to hold accountable the Mexican state for the systematic violation of human rights,” said Méndez.

On May 3rd 2006, police officers blocked 60 flower vendors from setting up their stands in the public market in Texcoco, just outside of Mexico City. Some were jailed and beaten. The vendors called upon Other Campaign to defend the people’s land, to stand up for what was right, and to stand against the blatant disrespect and disregard for human life by officers.

The following morning, between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m., thousands of state and federal police officers raided the city of Atenco. They beat and arrested anyone in sight, in search of the alleged leaders. Forty-seven women were arrested, and 26 were subject to sexual torture.

Those 26 women filed complaints with the National Human Rights Commission against the state police for their acts of sexual violence, including rape and other forms of sexual aggression. While they were transferred to Santiaguito state prison, the women did not receive proper medical attention. Medical teams were neglectful and refused to obtain the proper documentation on the assaults against these women. As a result of the negligence none of the assaults were documented.

By the end of the day, two were murdered by the police and 207 were arrested without any formal charges. None of the officials responsible have been held accountable.

“We don’t want to be victims either. We are not ‘the raped women.’ I’m not Italia who was raped in Atenco,” said Méndez.

This special event was a part of the campaign’s “14 days in different Universities all over the nation.”

There in support of the cause, CLU believes that in order to make a difference, the community needs to support its people. “Community organizing is key for any collective effort, anything that has to do with the well-being of communities ties back to social organizing ideals,” said CLU president Emilla Gonzalez Avalos.

At the end of the event, those who attended were given an opportunity to purchase bracelets and other items to help fund the cause in hopes that one day the victims will get the justice they deserve and the officers will be held accountable to the atrocities they’ve committed.