Thursday, May 26

Olimpia Law: Mexico City arrests, for the first time, a man for the dissemination of intimate photos of women

The man arrested by the Mexico City police for distributing intimate images of women.
The man arrested by the Mexico City police for distributing intimate images of women.Government of Mexico City

The Olimpia Law has borne its first fruits after a year of its approval in Mexico City. The police have arrested, for the first time, a man who, after obtaining intimate images of women, spread sexual content on social networks and then extorted money from the victims. Since January 2020, the Criminal Code and the Law of Access of Women to a Life Free of Violence of the city were reformed, in what has become known as the Olympia Law, to admit as a crime the dissemination of images of sexual content without the consent of the person involved. The complaint by a young woman has revealed a complex plot about the handling of content through the Internet.

On April 15, 2020, the young woman received a message through Telegram from a supposed friend who proposed the sale of intimate images. At the pressure and insistence of the person who wrote to her, the girl sent several photos through the application. Later, she realized that the number did not correspond to her friend’s and that the account had been blocked. Later an alleged lawyer called her to tell her that he knew about the sexual content and that he could help her remove it from the Internet, if she deposited money into a bank account in a woman’s name.

The investigations revealed that Alexis Rafael Valadez Vázquez, a 24-year-old man who lived in Mérida (Yucatán), had posed as the young woman’s acquaintance and it had also been he who pretended to be the alleged lawyer. The bank account he had given to the victim belonged to his mother. He had already been denounced in 2018 for sexual harassment in Yucatán: he had offered another girl a photo session in exchange for oral sex. The police arrested him on April 1 at his home in Mérida, where they found five mobile phones, two laptops and one desktop, as well as several SIM cards and bank deposit receipts. One of the telephone numbers found by the police coincided with the one the victim had as the recipient of her intimate photographs.

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After his arrest, Valadez Vázquez was transferred to Mexico City to testify before a judge about the accusations. The Penal Code of Mexico City provides penalties of 4 to 6 years in prison and a fine for those who share images of sexual content without the consent of the person. The Olympia Law was approved in December 2019 after years of debates about digital violence and its consequences, mainly in the lives of women.

The legislation is popularly known for Olimpia Coral Melo, a woman from Puebla who pushed through the reforms after being a victim of digital violence. When she was 18 years old, her then boyfriend shared a video on networks in which they appeared having sex. The images unleashed a mob of aggressions against him, without questioning or punishing the person responsible for disseminating them. The experience led her to promote changes in the country’s criminal codes. “With digital violence, it is transferred to a type of community violence, in which millions of people participate. It perpetuates and worsens from private initiative, I am talking about Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, which have participation and co-responsibility. They help to perpetuate this type of aggression, ”he explained in an interview with this newspaper in 2020. Until now, 28 of the 32 States of the Republic already recognize the dissemination of intimate images without consent as a crime.

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