#NiUnaMenos: A Letter from Lucía’s Brother

Touching letter from the brother of Lucía Pérez, the 16-year-old Argentine girl, whose recent murder resulted in important protests in Argentina, with great international repercussion. Español

Matías Pérez
12 December 2016

Let her close her eyes and rest in peace.

Two men brought the limp body of a 16 year old girl to the doors of an addiction clinic in Mar del Plata, Argentina. They said she had overdosed on drugs. But doctors found that she had been sexually tortured, with the final act of impaling her causing such pain that her heart ruptured.

A week after this horrific murder and a year after thousands protested the stabbing death of an Argentine woman in broad daylight by a man she had turned down, even more women came out to the streets in Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, Chile and other countries to raise the alarm about violence against women. On social media, they are using the hashtag #NiUnaMenos, #NotOneWomanLess.

According to an article in Argentine magazine Página 12, it was the younger of two men, aged 23 and 41, who lured the girl out of her home and brought her to his house, where she was drugged with cocaine and subjected to depraved acts including being impaled on a rod in a manner recalling a “bestial practice from the 6th and 5th centuries BC.” A third man helped clean and redress her before they dumped her at the clinic.

Lucía was especially close to her brother, aged 19. On his Facebook, he wrote:

I wish I could have illustrated this letter with a photo of me and my sister laughing, or a picture of her being hugged by our parents. But no, we can’t even do this, because while we are still trying to deal with the fact that they killed her and the way that they killed her, we also have to deal with the death threats raining down on us.

What was Lucía like? She loved art, rock music and animals. There she would be, in every verse of a Viejas Locas song, bopping along, hugging an abandoned pet, always smiling, cuddling her dog, sending out good vibrations in every direction, just because.

She led a quiet life, not going out much until that cursed Saturday, October 8. They came to get her at 10 am, after Dad had already left for work. When my mom came home at 3 pm, she found her Facebook open on her computer next to her set for making mate, because yes, Lucía thought she would be right back. They had tricked her into leaving.

At 6 pm, a girlfriend told me that we had to go the police station because my sister had been involved in an accident. I could never have imagined what was waiting for me. The officer who met me and my mom didn’t know how to tell us, leaving us in an office for 10 interminable minutes until someone gave us the news. And the whole world crumbled on us. I asked to see her body, but they said no. I refused to leave and would not give up until they let me. She was on a stretcher, her eyes slightly opened as she used to do when she went to sleep.

Today, three suspects, Matías Farías, Juan Pablo Offidani and Alejandro Maciel, are under arrest. But for us, that’s not enough. We want true justice, we want all the cases they are involved in to be investigated and every person who has information to be able to go and give it to the prosecution. We need support, from anyone, because this is a case concerning all of us, independent of party lines. A girl, my sister, was horrifically murdered.

And we need to recognise that maybe this time it was Lucía who suffered because of this brutal gender-based violence, but next time it could happen to you, or to someone you love more than anyone else in the world. We need to gather the strength to come out to the streets and scream all together now more than ever, “Not one woman less.”

It’s the only way we’ll stop a thousand more Lucías from being killed. It’s the only way we can close her eyes and let her rest in peace.

Translated by Danica Jorden, a writer and translator of Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian and other languages

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