Outraged Mexicans flood social media with beautiful images to drown out photos of murdered woman
Ingrid Escamilla is seen in this photo uploaded on Jan. 21, 2019. (Source: Ingrid Escamilla / Instagram)
TORONTO -- Warning: Details of this story are graphic and may be disturbing to some readers.
Social media users have flooded the hashtags bearing the name of a young murder victim in Mexico with “beautiful” images to bury crime scene photos of her body that were leaked to a national newspaper.
Mexican newspaper “Pasala” sparked global condemnation after it published leaked photos of 25-year-old Ingrid Escamilla’s mutilated body on their front page, with the headline: “It was Cupid’s fault.” Photos of her remains were widely shared on social media soon after.
Police found Escamilla dead at a residence in Mexico City on Sunday. She had been stabbed, disemboweled and partially skinned, according to police and local media.
Her 46-year-old partner, whom local media referred to as her husband, was arrested at the scene with blood on his skin and clothes.
An outpouring of grief over Escamilla’s murder and anger over the newspaper’s actions has led to several social media movements spanning multiple platforms.
Twitter and Instagram users banded together to flood the hashtags with her name with “beautiful” and “happy” images to bury people re-sharing photos of her remains.
“Ingrid Escamilla of Mexico was murdered in a terrible way and the photos of her mutilated body are circulating online. We propose posting beautiful pictures so when weirdos search her name to feed their morbidness[sic], they see these instead of her corpse,” one Twitter user wrote.
In a video circulated by Mexican media, Escamilla’s partner can be heard telling police he stabbed her after an argument over his drinking.
He also admitted to skinning her and trying to dispose of her organs in drainage near their apartment in an apparent attempt to get rid of evidence.
The case is the latest high-profile femicide in Mexico and has become the rallying cry for campaigns to end violence against women in a country that saw 861 women murdered in 2018 alone.
Activists have increasingly ramped up their criticism of the Mexican government over their perceived inaction on addressing gender-based violence in recent years.
“Yesterday the president said that the media “manipulates” femicides to harm him. He has done nothing to solve them, as his predecessors did not,” Mexican journalist Veronica Calderon tweeted Tuesday. “Today we wake up with (another) horror: the murder of Ingrid Escamilla. In Mexico they kill a woman every two-and-a-half hours.”
Calderon then posted a video clip of Mexican president Andreas Manuel Lopez Obrador at a press conference Monday referring to media reports on femicide as “false information.” Obrador was answering questions by journalists about Prosecutor General Alejandro Gertz’s plans to change the way femicides are classified.
Mexico City’s prosecution office has begun an investigation into Escamilla’s murder and into officials who were at the crime scene and are suspected of leaking the photos to Pasala, according to CNN Espanol.
The National Institute for Women (INMUJERES) Mexico responded to Escamilla’s murder and the newspaper’s coverage by issuing a release urging media to assume an “ethical and responsible” coverage “that helps eliminate violence against women.”
“The dissemination of images of criminal acts…generates revictimization, trivializes violence, [and] threatens the dignity, intimacy and identity of victims and their families,” the translated release continues.
On Tuesday, Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum tweeted her condolences and said that police had arrested the alleged perpetrator, and prosecutors would be seeking the maximum punishment for Escamilla’s murder.