Everyday, thousands of women get up early to go to their respective schools. Some walk in the early hours of the morning to catch the bus, others travel more than an hour by subway to reach their destination. Long distances and many hours of travel expose them to various situations of all kinds, and, among the most frequent are related to sexual harassment. However, the problem is even greater in the schools itself, where complaints related to sexual violence from friends, classmates, and even teachers continue to be unanswered.
In May of 2017, Mexico was shaken with the news of the murder of 22 year-old Lesby Rivera Osorio, who was found hung to a telephone booth in the vicinity of the Faculty of Engineering of the National University Autonomous of Mexico. Lesby's femicide committed by her boyfriend was the straw that broke the camel's back, and above all, one of the biggest incidents that appalled the student community, who day after day feel more insecure in a space claimed to be a safe for all.
The problem is that most of the places where these events occur are the same spaces where thousands of young people go to educate and prepare themselves to be active members of society, however, a large number of complaints of sexual harassment come from educational institutions. According to the national survey on the dynamics of relationships in homes conducted by the INEGI in 2017, 25.3% of adolescents over 15 years have been violated in scholastic areas, of these attacks 38% were sexual.
Another problem is that in Mexico, most schools do not have protocols to address complaints of students who suffer from harassment and violence. In Mexico, only five of the 32 public universities in the country have a specific protocol, of which are the Autonomous University of Sinaloa, the Michoacán University of San Nicolás de Hidalgo, the Universidad Veracruzana, the University of Quintana Roo and the National Autonomous University of Mexico, who incorporated it just this year. Faced with these situations, it is the directors of each faculty or institute who decide whether to take action on behalf of the institution or go to the authorities.
This is why it is very important that we are all aware of the problems that surround us, because they are closer than we think. These are situations for which we must take measures to prevent them. That is why in Kwema we are committed to building safer communities. Creating safety networks within schools can be of great help to keep each other accountable, prevent, and assist any possible victims of harassment, robbery, rape or even femicide regardless of where they are.