Last night, Matías Pérez, the older brother of 16-year-old Lucía who was brutally raped and murdered last week in Mar del Plata, published an open letter through La Garganta Poderosa entitled “And now, they threaten us with death” (“Y ahora, nos amenazan de muerte”).
During an undoubtedly difficult time of grieving for the family of the teenager who has become a symbol of the wave of femicides that have shaken the country, the Pérez family received numerous threats. That’s right, not only do they have to deal with the fact that their daughter died a tragic, horrific death, they now have to worry for their safety.
Guillermo, Lucía’s father, explained to the press that the family had received intimidating phone messages and that an incident had taken place outside the family home — two young men on a motorbike, displaying a gun, shouted obscenities at him and threatened to fire. As a result, the police are now providing the family with protection.
During marches over thew weekend, for which more than 3,000 people turned out to support the family in their time of grief, Lucía’s mother Marta showed her strength in the face of these intimidations, insisting “We’re not scared because we haven’t done anything to anyone.” The family maintained that all they wanted was justice and that the crime “is not forgotten in a week’s time.”
The marches took place this weekend in Mar del Plata, in the neighbourhood of Playa Serena where the crimes against Lucía occurred a week before. Friends, neighbors, relatives and groups accompanied the teenager’s family, holding signs and banners that read “Lucía, your passage through life is marked on our hearts”, “Justice for Lucía”, “On my way home, I want to be free, not brave. Niunamenos”.
On Saturday night, a third suspect Alejandro Maciel was arrested, accused of helping to cover up a murder. He was found in a hotel in Santa Clara del Mar, having fled when the two other suspects Matías Farías and Juan Pablo Offidani were detained.
Lucía’s brother has now written a letter, hours before the National Women’s Strike takes place tomorrow headed by Ni Una Menos, calling the Argentine public to “gather strength and take to the streets to shout all together, now more than ever, “Not one less” (“Ni una menos”)”.
Matías begins his letter explaining that he cannot even illustrate it with a photo of himself and his sister laughing together: “whilst we try to process the fact that she was murdered and how she was murdered, we are now forced to process the death threats that are falling upon all of us too.”
He describes what his younger sister was like before her life was so brutally taken from her, her passion for art and rock music and her love of animals. And then he depicts how her murderers deceived her: “At 3 PM, when my mom got home from work, she found her Facebook open on her computer, next to her mate, because yes, Lucía thought that she was going to be returning home immediately.”
Matías recalls the moment that he and his mother received the news of what had happened to his sister, when “the world fell around us,” and he finishes by appealing to the public to help his family obtain justice because “this time it was Lucía who suffered this bestial gendered violence, but next time it could happen to you or to the person you love most in the world.”