BY ARACELI CRUZ

Two of the biggest misconceptions about domestic abuse is that a victim needs to leave their abuser or seek help in order to escape their situation. More often than not, a victim has sought out both routes without success. Leaving a situation where one person is being abused by someone they know could be close to impossible. An abuser, at times, will stop at nothing in order to keep a very tight grip on their victim. What makes this matter even worse is that the agencies that are supposed to help victims, ultimately fail them.

A 25-year-old Mexican woman was killed by her husband even though she had contacted a women’s justice center for help 16 times prior.

This horrific crime, which could have been prevented, occurred last year, but new details into what led to her death are only now being revealed. According to several Spanish-language news outlets, Vanesa Gaytán Ochoa reached out to the Centro de Justicia para las Mujeres in Jalisco, Mexico, at least 16 times for help.

According to El Universal, Gaytán Ochoa reached out to the Centro de Justicia para las Mujeres Jalisco for the last time on April 13 to seek out protection from her husband, Irwin Emmanuel Ramírez Barajas only to end up being killed 12 days later.

“The efforts to prove the degree of participation of the killer were null and void and [the Centro de Justicia para las Mujeres] didn’t even try to locate or inhibit him from carrying out illegal activities,” the Human Rights Commission said, according to El Universal.

On the day she was killed, Gaytán Ochoa called her lawyer to tell them that her husband was after her. She was advised to go to the governor’s mansion, where a meeting about security was taking place. Gaytán Ochoa took a cab there and did not realize her husband was following her.

Gaytán Ochoa stood outside the governor’s mansion, and her husband drove up and hit her with his car. He got out and stabbed her to death. The entire crime was caught on a surveillance camera.

Gaytán Ochoa didn’t do a thing wrong. In fact, she took all of the proper steps a domestic abuse victim is supposed to do in order to escape their abuser. She had a restraining order against her husband, and yet he violated it time and time again.

“When a protection order is issued, the authority undertakes to guarantee the life of the complainant,” amnesty international said in a statement last year. “This must materialize in mechanisms that ensure that state and municipal authorities have the information, resources, and personnel that allow them to fulfill the duty to safeguard the lives of women effectively.”

Gaytán Ochoa’s husband was ultimately shot and killed by a security guard at the governor’s mansion. But the damage was already done. She was dead, and now people are seeking justice in her name.

According to news reports, it’s unclear who is to blame whether it is the center for women or state officials, but what is certain is that Gaytán Ochoa’s requests and demands were left unanswered.

“From the evidence in the case file, it is not observed that the staff of the public prosecutor’s office followed a clear and serious line of investigation aimed at verifying the crime and sanctioning the man responsible,” Centro de Justicia para las Mujeres Jalisco said according to El Universal.

The sentiment on social media over her death of Gaytán Ochoa is also being placed on Jalisco Governor Enrique Alfaro. “The murder of Vanesa Gaytán Ochoa outside Casa Jalisco ‘is the sign of a social decomposition that hurts, offends, unworthy, that gives anger’ and we are all to blame for the social decline.”

Statistically speaking, domestic abuse shows staggering numbers. It’s often said that crimes against women are typically committed by someone they know.

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In 2016, Mexico’s female homicide rate reached 4.5 per 100,000, nearly twice that of 2012, a report by the University of San Diego shows. And that number continues to rise. From 2015 to June 2019, at least 3,080 women were murdered in Mexico.