“I hope women know they have an absolute right to defend themselves against any aggression,” Yakiri Rubio told Desinformémonos in an exclusive interview.
Rubio was imprisoned for three months after being accused of murdering her rapist. The young woman still faces criminal proceedings while out on bail, now accused of “excessive self-defense.” Her father, José Luis Rubio, says their neighborhood, Tepito, taught Rubio to defend herself and to be respected. “And that was my crime. They wanted to let me be killed,” says the young woman.
Rubio’s lawyer, Ana Katiria Suarez, says the case “is focusing more attention on gender crimes, but there is still much to do.” She went on to denounce the patriarchal viewpoints that persist among judges and prosecutors.
On Dec. 7, 2013, Yakiri Rubio went to Station 50 of the Public Ministry (PM) to report that she had been sexually and physically assaulted by two men. A few minutes later, Luis Omar Ramirez, one of the assailants, arrived at the station to accuse the young woman of the murder of his brother, Miguel Angel Ramirez, who attacked Rubio.
The 20-year-old woman was abducted by the two men while walking in the downtown Mexico City neighborhood of Doctores. She was threatened with a knife and taken to a hotel. One of the men left and the other physically and sexually assaulted her. “With the same knife used to wound me, I defended myself,” Rubio recalls.
Rubio says that while she was at the police station explaining what happened, Ramirez insulted her, causing the authorities to move her to another room. According to the girl’s father in an interview with Desinformémonos, the authorities did not follow the proper protocol required in cases of rape. He says they did not perform a medical examination to support or rule out rape. Furthermore, Rubio was held incommunicado while making her statement and the authorities did not consider her a victim of kidnapping or attempted murder.
The girl’s father considers her case to be exceptional since she came out of the attack alive. “Many women die and are tossed aside like garbage,” he said. “The neighborhood has taught her to defend herself and to be respected.”
After being thrown in jail, Rubio faced not only criminal proceedings against her, but also threats from the Ramirez Anaya family. Their insistence in her innocence gave her and her family the strength to fight for her freedom, despite harassment and accusations from authorities, and the gossip and slander that accompanied her hearings, her father states. He added that he was surprised that the authorities defended the Ramirez Anaya family, given its long criminal record.
Luis Omar Ramirez presented evidence of a presumed cell phone communication to allege that there was an affair between his brother and Yakiri. The young woman’s father says the move just shows the lack of gender perspective and sexism in the judicial system in Mexico, by implying, “the notion that being her boyfriend, which he was not, gives him the right to rape her.” The prosecutor denied presenting the calls as evidence.
After spending 87 days in prison on a murder charge, Rubio was released on bail after the judge determined that the death of Miguel Angel Ramirez Anaya, 37, the aggressor, was the result of an act of self-defense, although with excessive use of violence.
Yakiri’s legal process marks a precedent in Mexico, says Suarez, the attorney handling her case. “It brings much more attention to gender crimes, but there is still much to be done. The freedom of Yakiri is a step forward, but the inclination to allow these kind of agressions in which women are victims continues.” Judge 68, who heard the homicide case against Yakiri Rubio, delayed her release form the women’s prison in Tepepan by nearly three days, allegedly because he was too busy to send the required documentation, the lawyer denounced.
Although she is currently out on bail, criminal proceedings continue, now in a misdemeanor court. New hearings are set, says Suarez, since there is a lack of evidence to support the contradicting accusations presented against Yakiri. Sex crimes prosecutors have yet to address the conflicting evidence and testimony. The sexual assault tests conducted by the Attorney General’s office were deficient. “When I made the charges of rape they didn’t even perform the proper examinations for such cases, such as a pregnancy or a STD test,” says Rubio.
The experience of going from being a rape victim to a prisoner locked up in a jail cell has taken a heavy toll on the young woman. The self-defense ruling in her case leaves charges of excessive use of force, arguing that the violence was not necessary to protect her life. The charge brought by the Ramirez Anaya family states that Rubio stabbed her assailant 17 times, which, according to her lawyer is illogical due to the physical characteristics (she weighs just over 50 kilos, compared to the 90 kilos of her aggressor, a ). Suarez also cites Rubio’s another suspicious irregularity — the cremation of Ramirez’s body while the case is still under investigation.
Yakiri said that her release is due in part to the social pressure from the many people who joined her cause. On Dec. 29, 2013, a march was held to demand her release. In Mexico, solidarity committees were formed and demonstrations were held at Mexican embassies abroad. People also joined her cause through social network sites, especially after learning that the High Court of Justice set bail at 423,000 pesos.
Yakiri says she hopes the criminal justice system does not continue to make women invisible, and that women should know that they have the right to defend themselves against aggression.
“I was imprisoned for standing up for justice. That was my crime. I say to all women: you must stand up and defend yourselves, that yes, we can. Sometimes as women we are afraid and believe we can’t confront a man, but it’s not about strength, it’s about what you feel inside, that they hurt us. Let’s not remain silent, I will not give up,” Rubio declared, after leading the International Women’s Day march in Mexico City.
Translation: Clayton Conn/CIP Americas Program