"Miscarriage of Justice": Roxana Ruiz verdict sparks outrage as Mexican mom gets 6 years for killing attacker in self-defense

Roxana Ruiz (image via  Adela Micha/Twitter)
Roxana Ruiz (image via Adela Micha/Twitter)

Roxana Ruiz, a young Mexican mom, was sentenced to six years for strangling her attacker to death with a T-shirt after he assaulted her in 2021. The verdict announced on May 15, 2023, has sparked widespread outrage as many, including activists, found the Mexico State court’s ruling against Ruiz unjust and arbitrarily excessive.

Trigger warning: This article contains information relating to s*xual assault. Reader discretion is advised.

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In May 2021, Roxana Ruiz was reportedly earning a living selling french fries in Nezahualcoyotl. It is one of the 11 municipalities in the State of Mexico considered a dangerous territory for women, who are subjected to gender-based violence. The territory reportedly has an ongoing gender alert for femicides.

At the time of the incident in May 2021, Roxana Ruiz was reportedly having a beer with a friend when she met a man she had seen around the neighborhood. Shortly after, the man reportedly offered to walk her home as it was getting late, stating he lived around the same area.

Shortly after walking her home, the man reportedly asked Ruiz if he could stay the night due to the late hour as he feared for his safety. Ruiz, who acquiesced, let him sleep on a mattress on the floor. However, she soon found herself in a terrifying ordeal when the man climbed onto her bed, hit her, and r**ed her as she tried to fight off her attacker.

During the violent struggle, Ruiz, unable to fend off the attack, grabbed a t-shirt and strangled him to death. Ruiz, in a state of panic, then stuffed the man’s body in a bag and dragged it out to the street, where she was caught by a passing police officer.

At the time, Roxana Ruiz reportedly told the police that she had been attacked by the man, who she then killed in self-defense. However, the officer reportedly ignored her plight and proceeded to arrest her without making any attempt to obtain a forensic exam.

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Roxana Ruiz spent nine months in jail on the charges and was released to await trial, which ended with the judge convicting her for the man’s death. During the verdict, the judge stated that the victim used “excessive” force to defend herself. The judge added that merely hitting him in the head would have incapacitated the assailant.

Shortly after Ruiz was sentenced to six years in prison, her defense lawyer, Ángel Carrera, slammed the verdict. Carrera said that she plans to appeal the “discriminatory” ruling as it sets a bad precedent in a country saturated with gender-based violence. She said:

"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. He r*ped you, but you don't have the right to do anything."

Netizens react to Roxana Ruiz's sentencing after she was found guilty of killing the man who attacked her

The ruling against Roxana Ruiz spurred widespread outrage from people, including feminist groups, who viewed the judgment as re-victimizing women brutally attacked by an assailant. Many demanded justice for Ruiz, as one user called out the "miscarriage of justice."

Many echoed a similar statement as another user condemned the ruling and said:

A social media user, Thoughts of a Woman, pointed out the arbitrary discrimination against women in society who choose to punish the victim while the perpetrator walks free without repercussions.


In an interview with Associated Press last year, Roxana Ruiz expressed remorse for the actions but pointed out Mexico state’s troubling record of marginalizing victims instead of bringing perpetrators to justice. She said:

"I regret what I did, but if I hadn't done it I would be dead today. It's evident that the state wants to shut us up, wants us to be submissive, wants us closed up inside, wants us dead."

Meanwhile, outside the courtroom on Monday, a visibly devastated Roxana Ruiz stood before the crowd, thanking activists and the women who had supported her through the ordeal. She said:

"My son, I hope to see him again. I hope to stay with him, to be the one who watches him grow up.”

CBS reported that in 2022, the Mexican government registered a total of 3,754 women intentionally killed. However, only a third of the cases were investigated as femicides.

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Edited by Anushree Madappa
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