Feminist Groups In Sonora Call Proposed Law On Sexual Violence Onilne A 'Hoax'

By Kendal Blust
Published: Thursday, August 13, 2020 - 6:17pm
Updated: Friday, August 14, 2020 - 8:53am

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Sonora feminicida
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Marchers hold up signs as they walk through the streets of Sonora protesting violence against women in Mexico on March 8, 2020.

Feminist groups across Mexico have been fighting for legal reforms penalizing the unauthorized sharing of sexual images online. But many are rejecting a version of those reforms proposed in Sonora, saying it would do more harm than good.

Twenty-two of Mexico's 32 states have passed set of legislative reforms, called Olimpia's Law, that criminalizes digital violence, including online harassment, threats and the non-consensual sharing of sexual content.

But feminist collectives in Sonora oppose a version of those reforms proposed by state legislators.

"This is not Olimpia's Law," said Olimpia Coral, an activist who has pushed for the legislative reforms across Mexico, and for whom the law was named. "And that's why we're worried and indignant that this feminist fight has been co-opted for potential digital repression."

This revolution is feminist
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Protesters carry a banner that reads, "this revolution is feminist," during the International Women's Day March in Hermosillo, Sonora, on March 8, 2020.

Coral, along with members of various feminist groups in Sonora, held press conference Thursday to express their concerns about what they call "vague and imprecise language" in Sonora’s proposed legislation that substantially changes the intent of the reform and leaves too much room for interpretation. They said, as written, the bill would amount to a gag law that could be broadly applied to any information deemed private, potentially to punish journalists or victims of abuse who call out their aggressors online.

Sonoran legislators are set to vote on the bill Friday, and feminist groups are urging them to vote against passing the reforms until the women who are the principle victims of online sexual violence and exploitation are satisfied that the law will actually protect them, calling the current bill a "hoax meant to manipulate us."

"The real Olimpia's Law recognizes, punishes and prevents digital violence, drafted with a gender and victim-centric perspective," Coral said. "Legislators are not listening to us and they are not protecting us."

Feminist groups are planning to hold a protest outside the state congress building Friday as legislators meet to analyze and vote on the bill.

Woman holds up sign
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A protester holds up a sign reading "I march because I'm alive, but I don't know for how much longer," during the International Women's Day march in Hermosillo, Sonora on March 8, 2020.

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