Pregnancy termination is such a stereotyped issue that 59% of the mexican population would incarcerate women who have had a miscarriage… in a country where 14 out of every thousand women have had a miscarriage.
This happens because we have built a distorted image around chosen reproduction and sexual freedom; however, when we subject the pregnancy, marriage, contraception, and birth indicators to statistical analysis, we find a reality of fewer “irresponsible women” and more about “male rapists”.
And that’s where we have to look when we speak of abortion: at men.
After applying big data to the 32 criminal codes of the Mexican Republic, as well as to all open government information on the exercise of maternity/paternity in the country, we found that Mexico still legally allows men to establish sexual relationships with girls up to 12 years old and to marry minors.
This cuases that 1 in 6 pregnancies are the product of a rape, women make up 78.28% of the people who are forced to live as a couple during childhood, and 1 in 3 male adults force the first sexual encounter with minors, highlighting the problem of the pedophilia.
The debate on abortion then ceases to be an “ethical” issue to become one of social security, legislation, criminalistics, and health, which is why at least 126 national and international organizations have already incorporated the findings of this study into their information records after they were published.
Likewise, when disaggregating the main myths around the chosen reproduction and all the causes that criminalize abortion in the 32 states of the Mexican Republic, we discovered that there are territories where saving the mother’s life is paid with jail, only 3 of every 100 men have a vasectomy, and about 32 adoption requests are made in Mexico, per year.
Therefore, the “pro-life” discourse falls apart, resulting in this research going viral until it reached 505,360 impacts in just a few weeks.
The most complex of these investigations was to analyze the 148 crimes contemplated by the National Census of State Justice Procurement, with victims and perpetrators, for 32 states of the Republic and full national compilation, generating a total of 9,768 variables.
Taking into consideration this volume of data, I generated an Excel formula that allows us to automate the exact disaggregation of men and women who are accused of crimes in the Mexican Republic, their degree of kinship with the person attacked, and the numerical proportion on territories with the highest crime incidence (per crime).
Once I automated these figures, it was quite easy to apply the principles of UN Women, Oxfam International, and CIMAC Press to build narratives with a gender perspective, modeling the indicators under a simple but powerful reading that directly impacts the language:
Because it is not the same to say that “33,981 women are sexually abused every year (as if they were asking for it)” to express that “31,558 MEN are raping young girls and women in a yearly-basis”.
Subsequently, I modelized the data with a non-sexist perspective using Adobe InDesign for distribution on social media, allowing me to generate master degree research’s in less than a week after the story exploded on the agenda-setting, maintaining novelty, temporality, and validity among digital communities to the extent that some of this data was used in iconoclasm and local protests all around the country.
What was the hardest part of this project?
Much of the debate on the legal interruption of pregnancy in Mexico focuses all reproductive capacity and responsibility on women, who, although they can procreate once a year, are the most criminalized group of people for the exercise of their sexuality.
The main challenge of the study was to direct, for the first time, the gaze towards men that abandon their children, men who ask to “legalize those of 16”, men who do not use contraceptive methods, and men who are exempted from the sentence due to abortion, all in a simple manner that could be interpreted in an agile way by the general population.
By bringing this large volume of statistical data and legal case records closer to the public, it is possible for us to build up actions from within the empathy and offer an accurate panorama that is based on facts (not opinions) to exercise free and informed sexuality, promote safe and legal contraception, and stop pedophilia by making it visible and palpable.
What can others learn from this project?
If the COVID-19 pandemic has required us to do something, it is to learn new skills and abilities to “do more with less” in record time.
It is not necessary to have large newsrooms, budget increases, state-of-the-art technology, predictive tools, neural networks, and machine-learning protocols to tell stories that captivate our audiences, encouraging them to make the immediate transition to an increasingly just, empathetic, and informed world.
Very humbly, I allow myself to invite all of our invaluable information professionals to dare to “make things happen” and, from the powerful platform that social media provide us, launch in-depth investigations in real-time that will serve the public that really needs us: common men and women who are truth-thirsty in a country that ranks second in the world of #FakeNews distribution.
If a team of only one person can do it from a living room apartment, zero budget, and one-week deadlines with half a million impacts, I am sure that my colleagues, with much more preparation than myself, will be able to generate even more robust results.
Let’s make it digital, let’s make it simple, let’s make it quick and, most importantly, let’s make it useful.