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She Killed Her Rapist, and Now She’s Running For Political Office in Mexico City

Yakiri Rubio, 21, made headlines for stabbing a sexual attacker 14 times. Now she wants to be a representative for the tough Mexico City barrio of Tepito. "I know the party is using me to get more votes," she tells us.

by Melissa del Pozo
Jun 5 2015, 1:50pm

Photo by Melissa del Pozo/VICE News

Yakiri Rubio is sometimes known in the Mexican news media as a "sharp-edged woman."

In December 2013, the resident of the tough Mexico City barrio of Tepito was jailed for nearly three months for killing her rapist, stabbing him 14 times to stop what was described as a brutal sexual assault.

Mexico City authorities charged Rubio with homicide.

Women's rights organizations, Rubio's parents, and thousands of supporters across the country rallied behind her as she fought to be absolved of the murder. Her lawyers claimed the charges came as a result of a shady deal between authorities and one of the two men who victimized her on December 9, 2013.

Rubio, 21, is now free and free of charges. And although she did not study past junior high, Rubio said her personal experiences with the Mexican legal system may give her an edge in her goal of gaining a seat as a local representative in Mexico City. She told VICE News in a recent interview that she hopes to end up being known for more than "stabbing the man who raped me."

Related: In Mexican Politics, the Greens Are 'Corruption Turned Into a Party'

Rubio's face was seen on the covers of magazines and in newspapers across the country, turning her into a polarizing name. She was criticized for what some called her excessive counter-attack, but stood behind her claim that she killed one of her attackers in self-defense.

This May, she was finally declared innocent.

"At that moment, I don't know where my strength came from. If I made it out alive, there must be a reason," Rubio told VICE News. "Legitimate self-defense needs to approved as a right [in Mexico]."

In late March, Yakiri announced her run as a candidate on the Citizens' Movement ticket, or MC, after being approached by the small party in a field crowded with three major political parties known as PRI, PAN, and PRD.

Rubio is not backed by much funding: her parents have helped as campaign staff. Her rundown home in Tepito, where she said she will continue to live in if elected, has been converted into a makeshift office, and is covered in her campaign propaganda. Rubio said she is not naive.

"I know the party is using me to get more votes, but what they don't know is that I'm using them," Rubio said from her home. "When I win, I will denounce all the corrupt politicians in this party, and the others."

Related: Mexican Teachers Burn Ballots in Spreading Protests Ahead of Elections

Yakiri Rubio behind bars. (Photo by Hans-Máximo Musielik/VICE)

Rubio was born and raised and still lives in infamous but beloved Tepito, a market hood just north of the city's historic core, where local bosses are believed to be in control of illegal commerce and drug trafficking. Now she hopes to represent Tepito's district, if successful in her bid in Sunday's vote.

She believes that what she lacks in political experience she can make up for with her beliefs and strong proposals. "When I was little I was taught to defend myself," Rubio said.

Rubio said she hopes to make an impact on women's rights in Mexico, and to push a clear self-defense law so that women under attack from male aggressors can be protected from persecution — so that what happened to her does not happen to others.

"In Mexico there are still no laws that determine whether or not the use of force in self-defense is permitted, which gives us all something to lose," Rubio told me. "If a woman is in an empty lot, with a man tearing her clothes off, a man who wants to sexually abuse her, and the only weapon that she has is a stone ... where and how should she hit him?"

"If she kills him, she'll be a prisoner like I was," Rubio said. "I'm going to do something about that. You'll see."

Related: Meet the Oddball Cast of Mexico's Election

Follow Melissa del Pozo on Twitter @Melissadps.

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