With Mexico’s murder rate soaring and women in Mexico City increasingly complaining about sexual violence, a suggestion from a local head of government that women use whistles to stay safe is being pointed to as the latest sign Mexican officials do not take the nation’s crime problem seriously.
Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera announced Wednesday during a press conference that his administration would provide whistles to women to enable them to alert police and bystanders to potential sexual assaults and street harassment. Mancera said the whistle would serve as “a warning sign to society that something is happening there, that we cannot be indifferent.” He said police would be directed to respond to the sound of a whistle.
“Today Mexico City has endorsed this commitment to care for women, [this commitment to] protection, to action — precisely against violence to eradicate it, that would be the goal — also to raise awareness because it is clear that the existence of such manifestations, when present, damage the social fabric, public trust and coexistence,” Mancera said.
But social media users weren’t impressed by the solution. They responded with the hashtag #ElPitoDeMancera, a double entendre referring to Mancera’s whistle plan and, well, his manhood, Telesur reported. Critics said the mayor was putting the onus on women to protect themselves from sexual violence and suggested his next policy solution would involve chastity belts or burqas.
“Mancera’s whistles … put the job of prevention on the victim,” columnist Catalina Ruiz Navarro wrote for the website Sin Embargo. “Women without a whistle — real or metaphoric — would ‘expose themselves’ and if they’re assaulted and no one does anything, it would be their fault for not whistling.”
Mancera’s announcement came after a woman made headlines in Mexico for chasing down a man last week who tried to assault her as she entered a subway train. Other Mexican officials have suggested subway cars be set aside for women and children only. There were about 3 million sexual attacks, including groping and rape, reported in Mexico from 2010 to 2015, according to the National Statistics Institute.
Mexico saw a 9 percent increase in its murder rate last year, the first increase in four years, Reuters reported. Prosecutors from Mexico’s 31 states and Mexico City reported 17,013 murders, up from 15,653 murders reported in 2014.