It’s extremely sad to live in a country that eschews justice in favor of corruption. In 2015, Javier Fernández learned that his 17-year-old daughter Daphne was kidnapped and raped outside of a club by some of her former classmates. While her father’s natural instinct was to seek justice for his young daughter, Javier didn’t know how hard the battle would be.
“The last thing the system of justice provides is justice. I just didn’t trust the authorities,” Fernández said. He worried that the police would humiliate his daughter and then delay her case endlessly. “I knew they would fail us,” he said in an interview.
In Veracruz, Mexico, it is not the police you rely on when you would like justice. Instead, Javier opted to meet with the alleged attackers and their parents, who are considered wealthy and influential in the city. In the sit-down, which Javier taped, he demanded an apology from each of the three boys. They complied.
“I regret what happened,” one said, his words captured on video. “I did great harm.”
“I don’t doubt it happened and we made a mistake,” another said. “We were wrong.”
Javier hoped that these taped confessions would help his daughter Daphne, but sadly they did not. Rumors of Daphne’s alleged promiscuity began to spread on social media and she described these tough days as a “kick in the stomach” in a Facebook post.
She wrote, “If I’ve gone out drinking, if I have worn short skirts, like the great majority of girls my age, that’s why they’re going to judge me?” she asked. “For that reason, I deserved it?”
In another post, she questioned those who accused her family of using the crime to “extort” the alleged assailants. Though her words are in Spanish, Facebook provides a translation.
Out of options, the father and daughter filed a police report against the attackers and their families. The case remained in limbo for months, until Fernández released the men’s taped words to the news media, sparking national outrage. Finally, arrest warrants were issued. The first trial began a couple of months ago, after Diego Cruz, 21, was extradited to Mexico from Spain. (In a statement, the four accused deny ever admitting to the rape. They say Daphne got inside the Mercedes voluntarily because “she wanted the party to go on.”)
At first, it seemed Daphne may actually get some justice. However, that was quickly destroyed when the judge made his first ruling. The judge found that Cruz had touched the victim’s breasts and penetrated her with his fingers. But, the judge said, that didn’t make Cruz guilty of assault, because he’d acted without “carnal intent.” The judge also found that while Daphne was forced into the car, she was never “helpless.” Cruz was deemed innocent.
Two of the others accused in the rape case are awaiting trial and the fourth was not indicted.
Daphne has tried going to college but was incapacitated by severe anxiety attacks. She withdrew and returned home before going to live with her sister in Europe. On Facebook, she wrote, “I just want this to end.”
We hope Daphne can finally find peace and well-deserved justice.
[H/T: The New Zealand Herald]