Una Otra Violación | Mexico | Living in Mexico

Una Otra Violación

A serial rapist struck again the week before last. This was the fifth attack. The community is outraged. People are frightened.

The man carefully cases his victims. All are single women aged around 50-65 years. All are gringas. He enters their homes in the very early hours of the morning and holds the women at knifepoint. Women who fight back are brutally beaten. He calls them by name. He speaks perfect English, but probably is Mexican.

Catching serial rapists is difficult. When we lived in Palo Alto, another rapist who preyed on elderly women via home invasion assaulted nine victims before he was caught. A letter writer to the gringo newspaper, Atención, related a similar story that occurred in another American town.

To the American expatriate community, the police response has not been encouraging. A police artist sketch of the perpetrator exists, but the police refuse to publish it because they think it's "unreliable." A citizen's group that wants to offer a reward for information has been told they may not do so because "it could panic the community." The police have fingerprints and DNA samples, but no computerized database exists in Mexico to permit identification of the rapist. Indications exist that he has been incarcerated in the United States, so one resident arranged for the cooperation of the FBI. The police apparently have not sent samples to them yet, even though all this was set up in December.

To add to the general dismay, the police system is broken. Several different police organizations exist in our community: the traffic police, the "preventative" police, the Ministerio Publico, the State police. Jurisdictional boundaries prevent one kind of police officer from helping another, so in a town with maybe 200 policemen, only two are working the case, and they are on loan from Guanajuato.

Assistant Police Chief Bruno Galicia summed it up when he said, "The police department responds to activity in the street and to prevent crime. This crime occurred within a home, so it is out of our hands." (Italics mine.) He concluded with, "We must not let this affect other aspects of the city. San Miguel continues to be a safe place to live and visit." I for one am not reassured.

One of the vacation house rental agents knows that not everyone feels this way. A woman called her from the US and said she was canceling her visit. She demanded her deposit back, saying the agent had "failed to disclose the presence of a serial rapist." Exactly.