A woman who killed a man in self-defense after he attacked and raped her in 2021 was sentenced to more than six years in prison Tuesday.
A Mexican state court ruled Monday that Roxana Ruiz, 23, was guilty of homicide with an “excessive use of legitimate defense,” after killing a man who attacked and raped her in May 2021. In addition, Ruiz was ordered to pay his family more than $16,000 in reparations, a decision her legal team vowed to appeal, The Associated Press (AP) reported. (RELATED: Man Convicted Of Raping 13-Year-Old Girl Gets Rehab, Not Prison)
“It would be a bad precedent if this sentence were to hold. It’s sending the message to women that, you know what, the law says you can defend yourself, but only to a point,” Ángel Carrera, her defense lawyer, told The AP. “He raped you, but you don’t have the right to do anything.”
A Mexican woman who killed a man while defending herself when he attacked and raped her in 2021 was sentenced to more than six years in prison. https://t.co/y73bhVOJpd
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 17, 2023
After meeting her attacker in May 2021, Ruiz agreed to allow him to sleep on a mattress on the floor after he had walked her home and complained about the late hour. While she slept, the man entered her room, tore off her clothes, raped her and threatened to kill her, her defense lawyers claim, according to The AP. Ruiz fought back, striking her attacker in the nose and eventually killing him.
“I regret what I did, but if I hadn’t done it I would be dead today,” Ruiz told The AP.
Ruiz was arrested after police discovered her dragging her attacker’s body into the street outside of her home. When Ruiz told officers she had been raped, one reportedly responded that she had probably wanted to have sex with the man and then changed her mind, according to The AP. A forensic exam was never ordered for Ruiz, but despite its absence the court conceded she had been raped, but stated “hitting the man in the head” would have been enough to defend herself against his actions, The AP reported.
“When a woman defends herself, the system is particularly efficient in processing and sentencing her without taking into consideration the conditions in which she killed the man,” Angelica Ospina, gender fellow for International Crisis Group in Mexico, told The AP. Ospina added the Ruiz’s sentence will only serve to encourage abusers and discourage women from defending themselves or reporting gender-based violence. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: CIA Employee Told Police Alleged Assailant ‘Admitted’ To Sexual Assault, But Agency Ignored)
“It’s evident that the state wants to shut us up, wants us to be submissive, wants us closed up inside, wants us dead,” Ruiz told The AP. Ruiz added that she hoped she would be able to watch her 4-year-old son grow up.