Mexican med student Mariana Sanchez Davalos strangled after reporting sexual assault


A young medical student in Mexico was found strangled to death in her home, just weeks after she reported a sexual assault to police and requested a transfer to another hospital.

Mariana Sanchez Davalos, 24, was a budding medical student and surgeon graduate working at a clinic in the municipality of Ocosingo. She was found dead on January 28, The Sun reports.

According to police, her autopsy revealed she was strangled to death but there were no other signs of violence or sexual abuse.

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Local media reported that Ms Davalos had reported a sexual assault by a member of the local community to police several weeks before her murder, yet the case was never investigated.

She then asked the National Autonomous University of Chiapas, where she was enrolled, to transfer her to another location.

However, Ms Davalos was instead granted a month of leave while her relocation request was ignored.

It is unclear whether she informed the university of the sexual assault she had earlier reported to police.

Her friends said the physical and emotional toll of the alleged sexual assault as well as surviving for 10 days without an income sent Ms Davalos into a depressive spiral.

Fellow medical students staged a protest in front of the university demanding answers as to why the 24-year-old was denied her desperate plea to change locations and for a probe into police ignoring her reporting of the sexual assault.

The Chiapas State Medical Students Committee (CEMECH) demanded Faculty of Human Medicine director Dr Manuel Velasco Suárez explain his lack of attention, “since it is not the first time that situations like this occur during the internship or social service process”.

The Ministry of Health issued a statement expressing their “indignation” at Ms Davalos’ murder and reiterated their zero tolerance policy for any violent behaviour towards women.

Officials said they are in contact with the victim’s family and will provide support as they investigate Ms Davalos’ death.

The case is being treated as a murder though there have been no reports of any suspects yet.

Women’s rights groups and online activists have started the hashtag #JusticiaParaMariana to propel the fight for justice.

One user wrote: “A medical student should only focus on learning, not having to worry for his/her safety. A safe work environment is needed ALWAYS.

“Mariana’s case could have been prevented. Authorities need to listen and take action.”

Female rights campaigners the Mujeres de la Sal collective called on the Governor to spearhead the investigation.

“We demand that the Governor of Chiapas take action on the matter and punish according to the law the persons who ignored Mariana’s request and a history of sexual assault,” they said.

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission



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