Murder of Mara Castilla Sparks Campaign to Offer Safe Spaces To Women Out Late & Afraid

Lead Photo: Art by Alan López for Remezcla
Art by Alan López for Remezcla
Read more

The murder of 19-year-old Mara Fernanda Castilla Miranda has sparked outrage, resurfaced conversations about femicide in Mexico, and brought up the necessity of thorough background checks at ride-sharing companies. At nearly 5 a.m. on Friday, September 8, Mara boarded a Cabify vehicle in Puebla after a night out. When she didn’t make it home that night, her family began searching for her and questioned Cabify about the driver who picked up Mara, according to Animal Politico. Her mother, Gabriela Miranda, reports that she received a phone call on September 9. The caller claimed that Mara was fine. When Gabriela pressed for more information, the caller hung up. It wasn’t until September 15 – a week after she disappeared – that the government confirmed Gabriela’s worst fears.

In a press conference on Friday, Puebla Prosecutor Victor Carrancá explained that the state had arrested the driver – only identified as Ricardo Alexis – whose story presented inconsistencies, CNN en Español reports. Puebla Governor José Antonio Gali Fayad stated that after linking the driver to Catilla’s murder, he also ordered an investigation into Cabify.

In a country where an estimated seven women are victims of femicide daily – with many of these incidents not resulting in arrests or convictions – many have come out to denounce the crime and demand justice for Mara. On Sunday, thousands, in cities across Mexico, took to the streets, holding signs that read #NiUnaMenos – which has become a rallying cry against femicides in Latin America – #JusticiaParaMara, and #NoFueTuCulpa. As in many cases of violence against women, the burden is usually incorrectly and unfairly placed on the woman. The outfit a woman wore, her sexual history, or the hour that she was out until are all irrelevant. None of them justify or excuse violence.

But placing the blame on women means they have to be extra defensive when they’re by themselves. That’s why online, people have begun using the #MiCasaEsTuCasaHermana hashtag. They hope to provide temporary shelter to women who find themselves out late at night and alone. Instead of hopping into a cab or taking public transportation, they want these women to know they have a safe space not too far away. Check out a few of the messages below: