Argentine women to strike after fatal rape of teenager

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(BBC) Thousands of women in Argentina are due to stop work in protest at the horrific rape and killing of a teenager.

Lucia Perez, 16, died earlier this month in the city of Mar del Plata, Argentina. Two men who dropped her off at a hospital on 8 October, freshly washed and dressed, said she had overdosed on drugs. But doctors found evidence of extreme sexual violence.

Lucia Perez was 16 years old and a high school student when she suffered the rape that killed her
Lucia Perez was 16 years old and a high school student when she suffered the rape that killed her

A march will begin at 17:00 local time (20:00 GMT) in the capital, Buenos Aires.

Activist groups are calling on women to wear black when they walk out of their places of work for an hour at midday on Wednesday (14:00 GMT). They are calling the actions Miercoles Negro – Spanish for Black Wednesday.

“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 organisers wrote.

Tens of thousands rallied in the streets in June last year in protest at violence against women, and repeated marches and rallies have taken on the slogan “ni una menos” – Spanish for “not one woman less”.

Lucia’s 19-year-old brother, Matias, wrote in a Facebook post that taking to the streets and shouting together was the only way to prevent “thousands more Lucias” being killed, and the only way to “close her eyes and see her rest in peace”.

On average, one women is killed in domestic violence cases every 36 hours in the country.

Argentina adopted an anti-femicide law in 2012, with harsher penalties for men who kill women when gender plays a part in the crime.

The new legislation also has tough penalties for domestic violence. Fifteen other countries in Latin America have written such laws, but critics say they are not being effectively implemented.

Three men have been arrested in connection with Lucia’s death.

Prosecutors say she was drugged with marijuana and cocaine before the rape.

A foreign object was thrust into her anus and caused pain so severe that she went into cardiac arrest.

Lucia died shortly after she was taken to hospital.

The lead prosecutor, Maria Isabel Sanchez, told the media: “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.”

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.

The country’s Justice Minister, German Garavano, met Lucia’s parents last week and said the government was working to make sure young people “do not end up as the victims of these tragic acts”.

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