Woman who killed man as he sexually attacked her has case against her dropped
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Featured Image Credit: Facebook/Roxana Ruiz Santiago/Associated Press/Alamy
Content warning: this article contains references to subject matter that some readers may find upsetting.
A woman who defended herself and killed a man as he sexually attacked her has had the case against her dropped.
Back in May 2021, 23-year-old Roxana Ruiz was raped and attacked before killing her attacker and was subsequently sentenced to six years in prison.
The court in Mexico State found Ruiz guilty of homicide with 'excessive use of legitimate defence' and went on to order the woman to pay over $16,000 (approximately £12,900) in reparations to the man's family, however, authorities have since announced they are withdrawing the case.
Mexican prosecutors announced the news on Saturday evening (20 May) following a mass public outcry over the initial charges given to Ruiz.
Activist groups which have fervently supported Ruiz's defence carried signs around Mexico City which read the phrase translated from Spanish: "Defending my life isn’t a crime."
Speaking of the court's ruling, Ruiz told reporters: "This isn’t justice.
"Remember I am the one who was sexually assaulted by that man, and after he died because I defended myself … because I didn’t want to die by his hands," per the Associated Press.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador responded to the outrage over the initial sentencing and said during a morning press briefing that he would seek to pardon Ruiz.
In a press release, the state Prosecutor’s Office revealed it had examined the case.
In doing so, the office took into consideration that Ruiz is part of a vulnerable group and found she was 'exempt from guilt'.
The release also added that the Prosecutor’s Office believes she acted in self-defence after she was assaulted by the attacker.
Ruiz’s defence lawyer, Ángel Carrera, has since celebrated the highly-anticipated announcement.
"It means that they're recognising her innocence,” Carrera told The Associated Press. "It’s a recognition that she simply defended herself."
The crime took place in 2021 when Ruiz was working selling french fries in Nezahualcoyotl, one of the 11 municipalities in Mexico State.
The defence said Ruiz, an Indigenous woman and single mother to a four-year-old, went out with a friend and a man she knew from the local area.
The man then offered to walk her home and asked Ruiz if he could spend the night due to it being late and him being far from his home.
Ruiz agreed and slept on a separate bed but the man attacked and sexually assaulted her.
She fought back against the attacker and, in the struggle, Ruiz killed him in self-defence, Carrera said.
While the court initially claimed the man was knocked unconscious and that that was enough for Ruiz to have defended herself, Carrera pointed out the allegation was 'totally false'.
The lawyer added that it had not actually been determined that the attacker was made unconscious.
In a panic, the lawyer continued, Ruiz put the attacker's body in a bag and took it out to the street which is when police who happened to be passing by arrested her.
The Associated Press reports that, despite Ruiz informing police that she had been raped by the attacker, a forensic exam was never carried out and, according to Carrera, such an exam is a crucial step when it comes to prosecuting sexual violence cases.
Instead, her lawyer continued, an officer responded to Ruiz's claims and questioned if she was actually sexually assaulted.
According to Carrera, the officer said she probably wanted to have sex with the man at first and then changed her mind.
Ruiz has given her permission to be identified in reports and regularly participates in public demonstrations led by activists who support her.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact The Survivor’s Trust for free on 08088 010 818, or through their website thesurvivorstrust.org