In Mexico, torture is a consistent, widespread and systematized practice, considered both a method of investigation and a strategy of intimidation and control of the population. Torture is inflicted on individual bodies of men and women to punish the collective social body. Thus, it is important to expose all of its forms: psychological, physical and sexual. Our study is focused on the latter.
This study is based on a qualitative and quantitative analysis of 20 testimonies from men and women who were sexually tortured in two contexts:
- In the war on drugs, in order to obtain self-incriminatory confessions in connection with organized crime
- Against the social movement, as a destabilizing element for grassroots organization
Our analysis is based on a gender perspective framework encompassing men and women whose bodies have been abused and whose sexuality has been subjected to torture in order to subdue, undermine, force and prevail upon other men or women. The study focuses on patterns of sexual torture inflicted on men and women, taking into consideration the methods of torture, which include forced nudity, humiliation, shaming, sexual threats, groping, electric shocks applied to genitals or nipples, forceful introduction of a finger, penis or foreign object in genitalia, oral sex, gang rape, forcing a person to witness sexual torture, as well as other types of physical and psychological abuse.
The study complies with all ethical standards for research and the participants gave their informed consent.
While the women participating in the study organize themselves and report these events, the men continue to bear with this in silence and suffering shame for having been sexually tortured. Both in women and men, the impact is assessed in a context where sexuality is taboo, gender stereotypes persist, and impunity fosters a circle of silence. The data show that sexual torture in Mexico is inflicted on men and women, resulting in profound psychological distress, which requires long-term, specialized rehabilitation.
Funding & No Conflicts Declaration
The study has been funded by EU funds (EIDHR Fund) and additional support from IRCT sub grants. There are no conflicts of interest.