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Sonoran Legislators Postpone Vote On Digital Violence Law Amid Protests

8M protests
Kendal Blust/KJZZ
Women protest gender-based violence in the Sonoran capital Hermosillo on March 8, 2020.

Lawmakers in neighboring Sonora, Mexico, were set to vote on a bill last week that would criminalize non-consensual sharing of sexual images online. But they postponed the decision amid protests by feminist groups.

Dozens of feminist protesters successfully stalled the passage of  the controversial billthat they say does not properly address issues of digital violence.

Protesting outside the Sonoran congress building in the capital Hermosillo, women chanted and held up signs calling for their voices to be heard. Some broke down a door, and a woman who got inside the building says she was hit several times by a security guard.

"He hit me in the nose. He hit me in the face," said Frida Gomez. "And it's not OK because protesting is our right. We're not asking for any favors, it's a legal obligation to allow us to be here."

Gomez is a lawyer who has helped push for reforms known as Olimpia’s law, penalizing online abuse and non-consensual sharing of sexual content.

The law has been passed in 22 Mexican states. But feminist groups are not happy with the way Sonora’s proposed law is written.

They met with state leaders including the governor Friday to push for changes to the bill. A new date for legislators to take up a vote on the reforms has not been set.

Kendal Blust was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2018 to 2023.