Women across Argentina are expected to walk out of work for an hour today in protest over the death of a teenage girl who was raped and tortured earlier this month. Schoolgirl Lucia Perez, 16, died in the coastal city of Mar del Plata after an attack that lead prosecutor María Isabel Sánchez described as unlike anything she had ever seen, The Guardian reported. Perez's assailants washed her in a bid to remove forensic evidence, before taking her to hospital where they said she had overdosed on drugs, the BBC reported. In reality, the attack was so severe that the pain caused Perez to suffer a cardiac arrest, the prosecutor said. Hundreds of thousands of women will engage in a "women's strike" – marked with the Twitter hashtag #MiercolesNegro, or Black Wednesday – in protest over violence against women in Argentina. Demonstrators will stop doing their jobs and other activities from 1pm local time. They will later march and congregate on the main Plaza de Mayo square in Buenos Aires.
“In your office, school, hospital, law court, newsroom, shop, factory, or wherever you are working, stop for an hour to demand ‘no more machista violence’,” wrote the march organisers. (Machismo being the Spanish word for aggressive masculinity that campaigners say can lead to violence against women.) One woman is killed in domestic violence every 36 hours in the country, reported the BBC, and crimes against women have soared by 78% since 2008, according to government statistics.
Campaigners say an anti-femicide law passed in 2012, that provided harsher punishment for domestic violence and men who kill women in gender-related crime, is not being adequately implemented, the BBC reported. Perez's 19-year-old brother showed his support for the women's strike, writing on Facebook that protesting and shouting in the street was the only way to stop "thousands more Lucias" being killed. Three men have been arrested in connection with Perez's brutal killing. Sánchez, the lead prosecutor, said of the case: "I know it's not very professional to say this, but I am a mother and a woman and I have seen a thousand things in my career, but never anything equal to this litany of abhorrent acts." Argentina's government said it is working towards making sure that young people "do not end up as the victims of these tragic acts," reported the BBC.