A group of women dressed in black veils crowded into Mexico City’s subway on Tuesday to protest sexual harassment using the hashtag #ElMetroEsPublicoMiCuerpoNo, or “The subway is public, my body is not.”
The protesters, many belonging to a group of women from a Mexican reproductive rights organization known as GIRE, held signs bearing slogans such as “Do I have to dress like this so that you respect me?”
The protest was meant to raise awareness on sexual harassment in public transportation, a big issue that has prompted city authorities to create pink-colored, women-only metro trains, buses and taxis.
But harassment on the subway is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to violence against women. Mexico's femicide rate has skyrocketed in many states, and most of the crimes go unpunished. And there’s equal pay and combatting traditional machista views.
The pictures of Tuesday's subway protest filled Mexican social media and encouraged many women to tweet their support for the campaign. Others criticized the protesters for using what appeared to be burkas or niqabs to make their point. Some even compared them, oddly enough, to the KKK.
“This flock of ignorants dressed up with the symbol of oppression against women.”
“Respect the bodies of other people. They way you dress is no motive for harassment.”
“And here, the reason why we protest.”
“If they only knew how women live and are oppressed in Islam they wouldn’t have done today’s pathetic performance.”
The protest was mostly peaceful, except for reports of some men getting verbally aggressive with the female demonstrators.