“Ten women are killed everyday in Mexico and 97% of femicides are never solved.”
I was interested in the show because I will give every true crime documentary a go, and also the name sounded intriguing. Las Tres Muertes de Marisela Escobedo or The Three Deaths of Marisela Escobedo is a Mexican documentary about Marisela Escobedo’s tireless quest for justice after her 16 year old daughter Rubi is murdered by her (Rubi) boyfriend and father of her child.
Rubi is only thirteen when she starts dating 20 year old Sergio Rafael. Right off this is disturbing. The mother tries and fails to get a police report and claims she had to accept the relationship out of fear of losing her daughter. Unsurprisingly, Rubi falls pregnant a couple years into this “relationship” and gives birth to a daughter. Then one day Rubi is gone leaving her baby behind and no one knows where she is. It takes a lot of effort from her family to uncover the truth- she was murdered by Sergio after attempting to leave him. This was the first death.
Sergio confesses to the crime, leads the police to her body, and even apologises in court, which is what makes it all the more surprising when he is unanimously acquitted of the crime by all three judges. This was the second death.
The acquittal made absolutely no sense, and I stared at my telly with my mouth open in stupefaction. I wondered if Sergio had some political connections but no he just had some incompetent judges. The idiot judges claimed that despite his confession, the prosecution did not prove Sergio’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. A distraught Marisela refuses to accept this verdict, and immediately returns to her protests, going all over the country in her unrelenting quest for justice for her daughter. By this time Sergio has joined a cartel and is now under their protection, which makes Marisela’s mission even more treacherous. However this does not deter her and she continues to call out everyone from Sergio to the government.
Unfortunately Marisela’s will and strength is not enough. A few days before Christmas, she is shot dead while camping out in front of the government palace. This is the third death.
At this point I was in tears. It is highly frustrating and disturbing to see the level of injustice and unfairness meted out to Marisela and her family. Is it really too much to ask that a murderer who confesses to a murder be punished for said murder? It was ridiculous enough that Marisela had to go to such lengths for justice but it was depressing that she couldn’t even get that. Seeing Marisela shot in the street was the final straw.
I felt the same anger and helplessness that I felt reading about Trujillo’s reign of terror in the Dominican Republic as written in Juniot Diaz’s book The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. I can imagine how helpless Marisela must have felt fighting the government and cartel. It is the same helplessness people all over the world have felt for ages, but most particularly in this glorious year twenty twenty. The world is always in a state of unrest but this year has been a rollercoaster of non-stop foolishness and chaos. In particular, the past few weeks have been hectic for Nigerians who are fighting against police brutality, only to have the government order the military to gun down unarmed protesters. For decades Nigerians have endured corruption and nonsense from the government, and every time we rise up we are immediately cut down. It is frustrating to feel so helpless.
Fear and helplessness are two of the worst things to feel. Those in charge thrive on the fear to keep people in check, and when people try to revolt their efforts are thwarted thus fueling the feeling of helplessness.
This is the same helplessness women across the world feel; it does feel that we are prey who always have to be on guard from the predators lest we be attacked in any one of the thousand of ways. It is so sad to see that despite what little progress we seem to have made in some areas, an overwhelming amount of women are still at risk every day, and most will never truly get any justice. The feeling that you can be kidnapped, raped, murdered without any repercussions is wild! The fact that some people have the power to do whatever they want without any fear of consequences is infuriating.
Sergio is eventually killed in a shootout with soldiers, and a man who claimed to have killed Marisela dies in prison, but it does not feel that justice was ever served for Rubi and Marisela. There is no happy ending here, and the documentary reminds us there is still a long way to go for women in all parts of the world. Rubi and Marisela are just two of the many women in Mexico who will never get justice, and let’s not get started on the rest of the world.
Whew. I had managed to hold it together (barely) but this documentary made me come undone. I am exhausted. I do not feel optimistic at all; the fear and helplessness is overwhelming. I am exhausted and I just want to lie still in a dark room while everything sorts itself out.