Marisela Escobedo and the quest for justice Favorite 



May 11 2010

Marisela Escobedo was 52 when she was shot dead on a sidewalk outside of the Government Palace of Chihuahua City, northern Mexico. She had set up camp in one of Mexico’s most dangerous cities – a place where people won’t leave their homes at night to protest day and night against corruption and impunity in her daughter’s murder case. The story began in 2005, when 13-year-old Rubí Marisol Frayre Escobedo, Marisela’s daughter, fell in love with Sergio Barraza Bocanegra, who was 21 at the time. Despite the family’s initial opposition, the couple moved in together and had a daughter. Everything seemed fine. Then, in 2008, Rubí vanished. Sergio insisted Rubí had simply left him for another man, but the family didn’t believe she’d leave her child behind. They filed a missing person’s report, which was only made official by the police six weeks later. In the meantime, Sergio disappeared.

Led by Marisela, the family looked for Rubí all over their native city of Ciudad Juárez, on the border of El Paso, Texas, fearing she could have fallen prey to human traffickers. Without the help of police, Marisela found Sergio and plastered his neighborhood with posters offering money for any information regarding her daughter’s disappearance. Finally, a witness came forward, saying he had overheard Sergio ask people for help concealing his girlfriend’s body. He was arrested and confessed in custody, telling the police where the body was.

Marisela staged a series of protests all over the country, demanding help from authorities that had previously barely lifted a finger. The months of mobilization culminated in Sergio’s trial. When asked to address Marisela before sentencing, Sergio apologized to her for “the great pain that no one can repair”. After a recess, the judges unanimously absolved him of the crime.

Marisela became an activist. Among the many protests and creative ways she used, she walked from her home to the General Attorney's office wearing nothing but the missing poster of her daughter. When the reporters asked her why? she answered " the government and the justice system left me naked".

Marisela was murdered in front of Chihuahua's governor's office in December 2011, while she was protesting.

Posted by Fernanda Soria on

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Timeframe For change


Thank's to Marisela's efforts, the country became aware of Mexico's feminicide crisis that had been present since two decades earlier. The crime of "feminicide" was introduced in the Mexican law and today, thousands of women get inspired by the creative activism of Marisela.