A new report confirms fears of “Latin America’s other pandemic.” Femicides have risen, according to Reuters, and domestic violence has as well.

In 2017, the National Institute for Statistics and Geography released data that showed that 66% of women over the age of 15 in Mexico had experienced some form of violence at least once and 44% had been abused by a partner. The government has committed to “zero-tolerance” policies and national awareness campaigns to stop abuses, but the issue is prevalent, so some women have taken matters into their own hands to pass reforms in the country.

Because gender-based violence can also include that which happens in digital spaces, a years-long feminist grassroots movement has pushed to raise awareness on online abuse, specifically. A little over a month ago, many women in Mexico won legal protections against revenge porn, non-consensual pornography (NCP) and other instances of sexual abuse online, according to the Latin America News Dispatch. The news came after tens of thousands of women protested on International Women’s Day.

The legal reforms started with Olimpia Coral Melo, a woman from Huauchinango, Puebla, whose intimate video with her boyfriend circulated on WhatsApp when she was 18. When she tried to report the video to authorities, they told her no crime had been committed. 

So, Melo got to work to change that: She rallied a group of other women who had been through similar ordeals and, together, they pushed for the Olimpia Law in Mexico—a reform that defines digital violence as “acts of harassment, threat, violation of data and private information, as well as the dissemination of sexual content without consent and through social networks, undermining integrity, freedom, private life, and rights, mainly of women” and imposes penalties of six years, in some cases, to those who “distribute, reproduce, market, exchange and share the content of a person’s intimate sexual content without written consent.”

Melo also started an organization called Frente Nacional para La Sororidad. They joined forces with a network of activist groups called Defensoras Digitales and, collectively, they’ve managed to win reforms in 19 Mexican states. But there’s still work to be done.

“The deadliest pandemic for women in our country, more than the coronavirus, is feminicidal violence,” Congresswoman Martha Tagle told Reuters. “Today, violence is the greatest threat to all the rights for women that we have had recognized with great effort.”

Despite the gains made in digital spheres, gender-based violence continues to be an issue across Latin America. That is particularly true during the pandemic. As countries forge on with shelter-in-place measures to control the spread of the coronavirus, data shows that violence against trans women and domestic violence in the region have increased.

“Let’s stay in our homes, but let’s stay with a critical purposeful spirit, let’s keep denouncing, let’s keep building,” Afro-Andean activist Gahela Cari told Remezcla earlier this month. “Let’s keep organizing ourselves because rights don’t fall from the sky, they are won.”