Cupid Didn’t Kill Ingrid Escamilla, Femicide Did: Valentine’s Day Femicide Protest

Femicide protest in front of the National Palace in Mexico City circa. 2019 | Courtesy of Wikipedia

It was Valentine’s Day in Mexico City, a holiday that usually radiates love and unity, expressed through bouquets of bright flowers, romantic cards, and all things red. This year, 2020, about 200 women gathered and spent the day demonstrating their hatred for “femicide,” the killing of a woman on account of her gender, while displaying their love for those lost to the misogynistic-rooted issue.1 Although these women refused to celebrate Valentine’s Day in its stereotypical way, they embraced the day’s meaning to showcase a different kind of love, one that is shared between mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends. These connections not only tied the protesters to the thousands of victims, but to each other as well, for each of them are at risk of dying by the hands of femicide.2 As the mass of marchers made their way to the National Palace, Valentine’s Day decorations could still be seen. Light flowers and large posters, covered in messages of love, were carried as protesters paid respect to all femicide victims.3 These tokens clashed against the crowd, as many coated themselves in black clothing and purple pieces either on their hands, face, or body, representing domestic abuse that is often related to femicide cases. While marching down the dark paved streets, the women’s voices filled the air with explosive chants, such as “Ni una menos!” which translates to “Not one murder more!”4

International Day of Violence Against Women March in front of the Palace of Fine Arts circa. 2019 | Courtesy of Wikipedia

Once they reached the National Palace, the steady atmosphere faded as flowers were traded for spray paint cans and victims’ photographs were replaced by paint-filled balloons.5 Behind the palace’s tall, mahogany doors was the President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, hosting a conference about Mexico’s femicide issue. He hoped to reassure the public by stating that, “The government I represent will always take care of ensuring the safety of women.” However, the protesters outside began arguing otherwise.6 The palace doors soon became the activists’ canvas, where they illustrated emotions brought on by years of persecution and violence. Swelled balloons were launched first, causing blood-red paint to splatter everywhere, resembling the brutal crime scene found only five days earlier.7

Flyers speaking of justice for Ingrid Escamilla and Femicide in Mexico circa. 2020 | Courtesy of Wikipedia

Ingrid Escamilla was only twenty-five years old when her life was viciously stolen from her. She came from a family of six, including her four sisters, one being her twin, and her devoted father, who continued to raise them after their mother left. Sadly, he had passed away about four years earlier, but Ingrid was known to cherish him as she spoke about him dearly at every opportunity given. Despite Ingrid’s heavy life obstacles, she was viewed as a noble-hearted individual who always had new goals she strove to achieve. Her noted traits were especially shown through her academic career, out of which she obtained her master’s degree in Tourism Business Administration. Before she became a victim, Ingrid Escamilla was a successful woman who made an effort to enjoy her passions, such as family, animals, music, and traveling. Her bright future was erased from the world on February 9, 2020, when Erick Francisco, her partner, fifty-six years old, murdered her in her own home.8 The apartment building was located on Tamango Street, in the Vallejo Colony. On the fifth floor, behind the white and pale blue walls, Ingrid Escamilla’s bloodied body was found. It is believed that Ingrid and Erick had gotten into an argument that morning or late in the evening on February 8. When being interviewed by the police, Erick claimed that he had consumed several alcoholic drinks, but that didn’t lessen the ruthlessness of his actions. Erick recounted the story, explaining that the couple’s altercation took place in the kitchen, which is where he obtained the knife he used to commit several inhumane actions. He reportedly told police that he first buried the knife within Ingrid, before skinning and disemboweling her. Not only did Erick continue to violate Ingrid’s body after her death, but he disrespected her remains when he decided to hide the evidence by flushing her organs and skinned pieces down the toilet. Out of fear, and possibly guilt, Erick called his ex-wife to disclose the horrid killing he had executed. Fortunately, his ex-wife informed police, allowing them to plan the successful arrest of Erick. Shortly after receiving her call, police made their way to the crime scene. Stepping into the kitchen, Ingrid and Erick were seen on the floor, surrounded by a pool of blood. Shirtless, disheveled, and blotched with his partner’s blood, Erick was kneeling while still holding the dirty knife in his hand. Once he was formally arrested, police questioned Erick’s reasoning behind throwing his partner’s remains away in such a cruel manner. The murderer responded with, “I didn’t want anyone to notice.”9 Ironically enough, Erick’s fifteen-year-old autistic son, Rodolfo, reportedly witnessed the killing. Although Ingrid’s death was shocking, close friends of hers knew of Erick’s violent tendencies. They claimed that in 2019, Ingrid had begun to file a report on Erick, but changed her mind and regrettably gave him a second chance. Sadly, her community also knew of Ingrid’s undeserved abuse, for Erick would insult and beat her frequently.10

“FEMICIDE STATE, WE DON’T WANT ANYMORE DEATHS, #NOT ONE MORE” circa. 2020 | Courtesy of Wikipedia

As the red paint dripped down the palace doors, Ingrid’s grisly case was not the only one being illustrated; it symbolized all women’s blood that’s been shed in Mexico. Layered over the chaotic paint, protesters spray-painted statements. In all black, capital letters, sitting at the bottom of the Palace doors, was written “ESTADO FEMINIDA”, translating to “FEMICIDE STATE”.11 On another pair of doors, “INGRID” was sprayed in pink, reemphasizing that her case was not a typical homicide, but one that matched many other women’s cases, a femicide.12 The palace doors and nearby walls were now covered in a disorganized series of statements, but one protester defended their work. She stood in front of a vandalized wall and stated, “I’m sure people will say ‘look at these crazy women, spray-painting this historic door from the revolution,’ but what they should do is read what we’ve written. How many women have been killed, how many have been raped, how many are being discriminated, that’s what really matters.”13

Her words echoed the thoughts of all other protesters, for most cases in Mexico are not investigated as a femicide. Fortunately Ingrid’s case was, but statistics show that out of every five homicide cases, only one is treated as a femicide. When one realizes that an average of ten women are killed in Mexico every day, that number becomes clearly indefensible.14 Numbers will only continue increasing, as shown in data from 2015 to 2019, where a 111% increase of murders against women in Mexico was calculated. Holding the highest record was the year 2018, for it recorded 3,752 killings of women. Although Mexico was one of the first countries to classify femicide as its own crime, women’s lives are still being taken from them, viciously and without valid reasoning.15 A twenty-one year old student, named Jocelyn, displayed the reality behind the numerical data, as she admitted, “I’m afraid to go out on the street alone. Violence against women has normalized in Mexico.” Despite the widespread alarm felt by Mexican women daily, there are still those who label femicide as insignificant, or a foolish product of women’s imagination. Shockingly enough, some of those individuals are found in positions of power, such as Alejandro Gertz Manero, the head of the Attorney General’s Office of the Republic. During a private meeting, held at the beginning of February, Manero had proposed the abolishment of femicide’s criminal title and replacing it with investigations similar to a murder that simply involved aggravated assault. Although this change is very unlikely to occur, the suggestion in itself reflects the lack of urgency femicide is still viewed with. Edith López, a feminist lawyer, explains that femicide’s presence should stay in the legal field, not only to display the severity of the issue, but to stand as a symbol for the government’s compassion towards its women’s horrifying, new normal. The government shouldn’t be trying to remove femicide’s distinct title out of ignorance, or annoyance; instead, Mexico should be working to prevent the mass amount of murders involving women. Only until femicide is nonexistent, if it it ever reaches extinction, should the title be abolished. Until then, Mexican women will have to continue enduring more pain and more violence, which will leave them with permanent, physical and emotional scars.16

Once the National Palace’s doors were covered in expressions of betrayal, fear, and despair, the protesters began moving to their next destination. Heavy footsteps and the words “THE PRESS IS COMPLICIT” filled the streets where the newspaper La Prensa’s offices were stationed. Soon after they arrived, the women began burning newspaper articles that contained horrifying photos of Ingrid’s mutilated body.17 In order to emphasize their disapproval for the newspaper’s use of Ingrid’s awful fate, some women attacked a company-owned van. As women crowded the white van, some spray-painted the side of it in black, purple, and pink, while those watching supported them with shouts resembling a battle cry. Those in front of the van cracked the windshield, and even managed to smash it into the vehicle, with the help of a hammer and long metal rod. One woman even made an effort to burn the van, as she held a lighter to the van’s right-side door.18 The anger displayed toward La Prensa was rooted in the newspaper’s publishing of Ingrid Escamilla’s leaked crime scene photo, which they placed directly on the cover. Another media company called Pasala, also published the gruesome photo, and even paired it with an apathetic title, “It was cupid’s fault.”19 In doing so, these companies gave several social media platforms access to the horrifying photo, which soon circulated the internet. In the public’s opinion, and for Ingrid’s family, Ingrid was victimized twice, once in life and once in death. Only until a plan was proposed to post photos of beautiful, innocent objects with Ingrid Escamilla’s name attached, did the attention of Ingrid’s violated body fade.20 A protester exposed the lack of sympathy expressed by media towards Ingrid’s case, when she bluntly demanded, “Before you publish a photograph, before you write a story, think, think that this could’ve been your sister, that this could’ve been your daughter, that this could’ve been your mother.”21 The truth is, these women are someone’s sister, daughter, or mother. If that isn’t enough, the fact that they are human beings gives them the undeniable right to live. Yet, there are numerous murders against women in Mexico.  At the rate they are occurring, these cases shouldn’t be labeled as regular homicides, but due to the lack of seriousness that femicide is viewed with, they are. “It’s not just Ingrid. There are thousands of femicides,” says one mother, named Ms. Guerrero, whose daughter was murdered in 2017.22 These protesters marched and defended Ingrid’s case, but they equally demanded recognition of Mexico’s great femicide issue. Women would continue to let their voices be heard in protests that were scheduled for the following days.23 Although Ingrid’s case was not the first femicide committed in Mexico, it was one of the cruelest, igniting Mexican women’s sense of betrayal and their desire to obtain justice for all victims before her. Mexican women, in Ms. Guerrero’s words, have been filled with anger and rage, bringing them no choice but to protect themselves from the horrid reality of Mexico’s femicide curse.24

I would like to thank the following individuals for helping me during the early stages of this project, for they made the process a memorable one. I am grateful for Dr. Sperling and Dr. Duesterhoeft’s advice, which enabled me to pursue such a topic with passion. I am also indebted to Daniela Durán for her guidance in the project’s proposal stage, as it proved to be very fitting to the story I wanted to tell. I’d also like to express my gratitude for Christopher Hohman’s review of my outline, since it aided me in organizing my article’s events. Lastly, I’d like to thank Dr. Whitener for giving me such a wonderful opportunity, not only to grow as a writer but to bring awareness to an issue that is being neglected.

  1. Daina Beth Solomon and Josue Gonzalez, “Ingrid Escamilla: Hundreds protest rise of femicide in Mexico after woman’s brutal killing; Local newspaper targeted over printing gruesome photograph of corpse,” The Independent (United Kingdom), February 15, 2020.
  2. “Ingrid was 25 years old, a master’s degree and loved to travel: this is how she was in life the young victim of femicide who shocked Mexico,” CE Noticias Financieras English, February 11, 2020.
  3. Al Jazeera English, “Mexican women protest after gruesome killing of Ingrid Escamilla,” Youtube video, (2020): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_DBLqGy91Qk.
  4. “Mexico women protest after gruesome killing of Ingrid Escamilla,” ALJAZEERA, (2020): https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/02/mexico-women-protest-gruesome-killing-ingrid-escamilla-200214200645471.html.
  5. “‘It fills us with rage’: Mexican Activists protest femicide at national palace,” The Guardian, (2020): https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/14/mexico-femicide-protest-ingrid-escamilla.
  6. “Mexico women protest after gruesome killing of Ingrid Escamilla,” ALJAZEERA, (2020): https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/02/mexico-women-protest-gruesome-killing-ingrid-escamilla-200214200645471.html.
  7. Al Jazeera English, “Mexican women protest after gruesome killing of Ingrid Escamilla,” Youtube video, (2020): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_DBLqGy91Qk.
  8. “Ingrid was 25 years old, a master’s degree and loved to travel: this is how she was in life the young victim of femicide who shocked Mexico,” CE Noticias FinancierasEnglish, February 11, 2020.
  9. “This we know about the femicide of Ingrid Escamilla at GAM,” CE Noticias Financieras English, February 11, 2020.
  10. “Erick Francisco “N” alleged effocide of Ingrid Escamilla was linked to the process,” CE Noticias FinancierasEnglish, February 12, 2020.
  11. Ellen Cranley, “Photos show how fiery protesters using fake blood took over Mexico City in response to the rise of brutal killings of women,” Insider, (2020): https://www.insider.com/mexico-city-protests-responding-to-rise-of-killings-of-women-2020-2.
  12. “‘It fills us with rage’: Mexican Activists protest femicide at national palace,” The Guardian, (2020): https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/14/mexico-femicide-protest-ingrid-escamilla.
  13. Al Jazeera English, “Mexican women protest after gruesome killing of Ingrid Escamilla,” Youtube video, (2020): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_DBLqGy91Qk.
  14. “‘It fills us with rage’: Mexican Activists protest femicide at national palace,” The Guardian, (2020): https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/14/mexico-femicide-protest-ingrid-escamilla.
  15. “Ingrid was 25 years old, a master’s degree and loved to travel: this is how she was in life the young victim of femicide who shocked Mexico,” CE Noticias FinancierasEnglish, February 11, 2020.
  16. “Femicide: the crime that has exposed the government’s inability to react,” CE Noticias Financieras English, February 16, 2020.
  17. Daina Beth Solomon, Josue Gonzalez, “Ingrid Escamilla: Hundreds protest rise of femicide in Mexico after woman’s brutal killing; Local newspaper targeted over printing gruesome photograph of corpse,” The Independent (United Kingdom), February 15, 2020.
  18. No Comment TV, “Women in Mexico protest against grisly murder of Ingrid Escamilla,” Youtube video, (2020): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_TBPlmnS-U.
  19. Daina Beth Solomon, Josue Gonzalez, “Ingrid Escamilla: Hundreds protest rise of femicide in Mexico after woman’s brutal killing; Local newspaper targeted over printing gruesome photograph of corpse,” The Independent (United Kingdom), February 15, 2020.
  20. “The inspiring images with which they recounted Ingrid Escamilla, victim of femicide,” CE Noticias Financieras English, February 13, 2020.
  21. Al Jazeera English, “Mexican women protest after gruesome killing of Ingrid Escamilla,” Youtube video, (2020): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_DBLqGy91Qk.
  22. Daina Beth Solomon, Josue Gonzalez, “Ingrid Escamilla: Hundreds protest rise of femicide in Mexico after woman’s brutal killing; Local newspaper targeted over printing gruesome photograph of corpse,” The Independent (United Kingdom), February 15, 2020.
  23. “Women will march in Mexico in memory of Ingrid Escamilla,” CE Noticias Financieras English, February 14, 2020.
  24. Daina Beth Solomon, Josue Gonzalez, “Ingrid Escamilla: Hundreds protest rise of femicide in Mexico after woman’s brutal killing; Local newspaper targeted over printing gruesome photograph of corpse,” The Independent (United Kingdom), February 15, 2020.

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48 Responses

  1. Hey, Kayla.

    This article was extremely well-written and deserving of the win, but dear God, was it difficult one to read. The pain that Ingrid’s murder must have caused her surviving family, not to mention the women in her immediate vicinity and throughout the country, is almost impossible to imagine. Femicide continues to occur in developing countries at astounding rates. I hope that with women speaking out as they are, more attention can be paid to this often overlooked crime.

  2. Femicide in Mexico has always been such a huge issue and this article really helps bring light to it. Reading about just the one murder of Ingrid Escamilla, out of thousands is upsetting because she was just killed just because she was a woman. The emotion in your writing was felt thoroughly because of how blatantly obvious the issue is and the lack of acknowledgment it receives. You mentioning about them having a march always makes me think back to them collectively singing “la culpa no era mia” during the protests against femicide. This article was amazingly well written, and congratulations on winning!

  3. Hi Kayla,
    Your article is so powerful. I know a little bit about the issue before reading, but you gave readers so much insight, and your writing allowed me to picture the protests. Not only is your piece very informative, but you spread awareness on an issue in a way that is respectful and emphasizes the graveness of it. I really enjoyed how engaging your article was, and I finished reading having a greater interest and passion for the issue!

  4. Such an informative and interesting article! Very captivating. Honestly I am unfamiliar with this story about femicide on Valentines Day and wish I knew more. I knew that femicide was a thing but had no idea it such a current thing. This article gave such great information about women’s bravery As well as the transition of a country during tragic thing that happened. Because of this article it gave great insight into women protests. I loved reading your article. Great job!

  5. While reading this article I felt a range of emotions. I was angry and still am that femicide is an issue from the beginning of time till now. Women have to fight and scream ten times harder for their voices to be heard. That’s why it was historical for what happened on valentine’s day 2020, women shouting and letting their voices be heard. Women everyday are being murdered based on their gender, but yet they’re still seen as crazy when they try to voice this abomination.Ingrid is just one horrific example of femicide.

  6. It was hard, holding back tears as I read this article, it is not only sad but it is infuriating that this is reality. Femicide is a topic that needs to be heard and talked about more. This happens everyday to women not only in Mexico, but all around the world. the article said 1/5 femicides are investigated but the number that actually finds the murder guilty in Mexico at least, is even smaller. Mostly because like Erik, they use excuses, he blamed it on the alcohol but in other cases its the “women’s fault”. They ask: why was she out so late, why did she get herself so drunk, she was asking for it wearing such a revealing outfit. This is a result of Mexico’s machista culture and we are tired of dying just because we’re women. Thank you for writing this article, people usually talk about news when they’re recent but after a while they forget and go back to they’re reality, this article keeps not only Ingrid’s story alive but also for all the women who suffer femicides every day.

  7. The quotes and description you used in this article painted such a powerful and moving image of the protest for me. I could feel the frustration and determination of the protesters whose struggles have been ignored by the government or even exploited by the press. I was appalled (though not completely surprised) to learn about La Prensa’s use of the photo and of Pasala’s headline. Both media companies sensationalized the abuse, misogyny, and brutal killing inflicted upon Escamilla. In a world where femicide is not only frequent but also overlooked and excused, the fact that they sensationalized this one story that finally gained public attention is infuriating. They could have helped others by raising awareness with factual information about femicide, but they chose to capitalize on this tragedy instead.

    The protestors are incredibly brave, and I think their choice to protest on Valentine’s Day was very fitting. They spent their Valentine’s Day showing love and compassion for Mexican women who have experienced injustice.

  8. It was extremely upsetting to read about the appalling murder (not to be romanticized by blaming Cupid) of Ingrid Escamilla, and this is only the story of one out of the thousands of victims of femicide. While it is enraging and frightening to consider this is an active problem women must be aware of everyday, the anger the conveyed in this piece displayed by the women in these protests demonstrates the power of unity and sisterhood among women of all origins. This article was perfectly written, the descriptions and explanations have done justice on the severity of the situation and I appreciate your passion in bringing awareness to this issue.

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