Thousands of people, dressed in black and mobilized by rage at the brutal gang-rape and death of a teenager, took to the streets of Buenos Aires on Wednesday. The “Black Wednesday” (“Miercoles Negro“) protesters braved torrential rain to demand an end to violence against women nationwide, in the wake of a horrific attack on 16-year-old Lucia Perez, who was abducted outside her school in the coastal city of Mar del Plata on October 8. Officials said Perez was drugged with marijuana and cocaine, repeatedly raped and sodomized with an “unspecified object” with such violent force that she eventually died from her internal injuries. Conflicting reports said she went into cardiac arrest or suffered severe blood loss.
The prosecutor on the case, Maria Isabel Sanchez, told Telam news agency that her attackers washed her body and cleaned her clothing before abandoning her at a local clinic and fleeing. “I know it’s not very professional to say this, but I am a mother and a woman and I have seen a thousand things in my career, but never anything equal to this litany of abhorrent acts,” she told the media.
Lucia’s mother, Marta, said, “We can’t understand such barbarity. It’s impossible to understand.”
“The way they killed her was inhuman,” said Lucia’s father, Guillermo.
Three suspects are under arrest and remanded in custody but the victim’s brother Matías wrote on Facebook that this was “not enough,” and urged people to protest in the streets against such violence. “Only in this way will we prevent thousands more Lucía’s being killed,” he wrote. “And then we can close [Lucía’s] eyes and see her rest in peace.”
Demonstrations were held in 80 Argentinian cities on Wednesday, as well as 58 others worldwide, according to Telam. Earlier in the day, workers in Argentina also participated in a one-hour “women’s strike.” “In your office, school, hospital, law court, newsroom, shop, factory, or wherever you are working, stop for an hour to demand ‘no more machista violence,'” the march organizers wrote.
Online support was expressed under the hashtags #NiUnaMenos (“not one less”) and #VivasNosQueremos (“we want to live”).