Roxana Ruiz woke up in the middle of the night to find her house guest attacking and threatening to kill her
Court in the state of Mexico had convicted the mother-of-one after she strangled her rapist with a T-shirt during the attack
Ruiz, 23, was convicted for murder by a court in Chimalhuacan, in the state of Mexico, in Mexico, who dismissed her claims of self-defense
Court said that while they recognize Ruiz was a victim of rape, they believed “a blow on the head” would have been enough to defter the attack
She was sentenced on Monday to six-years and two months in prison, also ordered to pay reparation of $15,800 to her rapist’s family
Authorities in Mexico have withdrawn their case and rescinded her sentence as she was mobilizing for an appeal
Verdict threw women’s rights groups in Mexico and beyond into an uproar, sparking public outcry
Protesters highlighted that she had woken up as she was being raped, struggled and fought as rapist threatened to kill her – supporting self-defense
Roxana Ruiz, was handed a six-year sentence for killing a house guest who sexually attacked her in her sleep in Chimalhuacan, State of Mexico, on April 18, 2022. Authorities in Mexico have withdrawn their case and rescinded her six-year prison sentence.
Authorities in Mexico have withdrawn their case against a woman who strangled her rapist to death with a T-shirt, mid-attack, taking away her six-year prison sentence.
Roxana Ruiz, 23, was sentenced last week Monday to prison by a court who ignored her self-defense plea in the killing of her attacker, and was mobilizing for an appeal. The court found her guilty of “excessive use of self-defense” after she strangled the man who broke into her home, threatened and raped her and sentenced her to six years and two months in prison
The verdict threw women’s rights groups in Mexico and beyond into an uproar, sparking public outcry especially given that she had woken up as she was being raped, struggled and fought as he threatened to kill her.
Ruiz a mother-of-one had met the man while out with a group of friends on May 8, 2021, and he offered to walk her home. Once there, she agreed he could stay overnight because he was far from his own home and it was late. She let him sleep on a mattress in a separate room, while she went to sleep in her own bed.
In the middle of the night, Ruiz awoke to find in her bed raping her.
She hit him in the face and gave him a nosebleed. While he was distracted she grabbed a T-shirt and used it to strangle him to death.
She was arrested by police after she was spotted trying to drag a bag containing the dismembered body of her attacker.
Roxana Ruiz, behind the gate, speaks from inside the court complex on the day of her court hearing where she is charged with killing her attacker in Chimalhuacan, State of Mexico, in Mexico, April 2022. Authorities in Mexico have withdrawn their case and rescinded her six-year prison sentence.
While the court agreed with that version of events, it deemed her guilty of using “excessive use of legitimate defense” in convicting her of homicide. Ruiz was also ordered to pay at least 285,000 pesos [$15,800], in reparations to her attacker’s family.
In a letter Ruiz sent to the feminist collective ‘We want to live Neza’, on the afternoon of May 8, 2021, when she was going from her job at a potato stand to her house in the municipality of Nezahualcoyotl, she and a friend went to a bar for a beer. A few minutes later, a male employee of the establishment, joined their conversation. When she was leaving the man offered to walk her home and she agreed. But when she arrived at her home, he insisted on entering.
“When we arrived, he became stupid, he forced me to let him in, he insisted that he lived far away to let him sleep in my room, he insisted so much that I got scared, I was afraid, I agreed because I was stupid,” she wrote. “Out of fear,” I agreed and put a mat on him.
When she was already in bed, the man climbed on her bed, took off her clothes and raped her.“I was in shock, I just wanted to defend myself, I went through horrible moments, I felt his breath, his hands (…) I hit him on the nose, it started to bleed and he told me now you are going to die; I was very scared, I went into a panic as he hit me. When he got distracted, I took a shirt and put it around his neck, I suffocated him,” she explained
“I felt fear, terror, I just didn’t want him to hurt anyone else, I felt alone, denigrated, I felt worthless, I felt that it was all my fault for having trusted those people.”
The court said that while they recognize she was a victim of rape, they believed “a blow on the head” would have been enough to defter the attack.
Victims’ advocacy groups and feminist organizations said the ruling criminalized sexual-violence survivors and protected perpetrators. Protests broke out in support of the Indigenous Mixteca woman and single mother, with demonstrators carrying signs declaring, “Defending my life isn’t a crime.”
Roxana Ruiz shouts slogans during a march in memory of Diana Velazquez, who was making a call outside her home in 2017 when she was disappeared, raped and killed, in Chimalhuacan, State of Mexico, Mexico, July 2, 2022.
Gender-based violence is rampant in Mexico, and government data indicate that nearly half of women in the country have been subject to sexual violence at some point in their lives.
After the ruling and sentence were handed down, Ruiz said she had received death threats and feared for the safety of her 4-year-old son and the rest of her family.
“It means that they’re recognizing her innocence,” said her defense attorney, Ángel Carrera. “It’s a recognition that she simply defended herself.”