On January 22nd, 2020, the Government of Mexico City published an Executive Order referred to as “Olimpia Act” (Ley Olimpia) or “Digital Violence Act”, in order to modify or add a number of articles to the Criminal Code for Mexico City and the Law on Women’s Access to a Violence-Free Life in Mexico City.
The initiative for such reforms was proposed in February 2019, with the aim of criminalizing anyone who, under any circumstances, transgress against women’s dignity.
In connection with the reform of the Law on Women’s Access to a Violence-Free Life in Mexico City, section X is added to Article 7 and section XV to Article 63; also article 72 TER. sets out that violence against women is an act made through Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), Internet platforms, Social Networks, or email, that threatens the integrity, dignity, intimacy, freedom, and private life, of women or causes psychological, physical, economic or sexual harm or suffering, both in the private and public spheres, as well as any act that causes non-material loss to them and/or their families. Harassment, threats, insults, dissemination of apocryphal information, hate messages, dissemination without the consent of intimate content, texts, photographs, videos and/or personal data or other graphics or sound impressions true or altered.
Additionally, the tenth section was added, which defines digital violence as follows:
“Digital violence. Is any action carried out through the use of printed materials, e-mail, text messages SMS, social media, internet platforms, or any technological device through which images, audios or videos of intimate sexual content of a person are obtained, exposed, distributed, disseminated, exhibited, reproduced, transmitted, commercialized, offered, exchanged and shared without their consent; that violates the integrity, dignity, privacy, freedom, and private life of women or causes psychological, economic, or sexual harm in the private or public sphere, as well as moral harm, to them and their families. Among the actions that are included in the crime against sexual intimacy will be punished with 4 to 6 years in prison and a fine of 500 to 100 Units of Measurement and Updating (“UMAs”)
In connection with the reforms to the Mexico City Criminal Code, article 181 QUINTUS defines as a crime against sexual intimacy, the recording of real or simulated audios, videos of intimate sexual content of a person without consent or through deceits, in addition to their diffusion by any technological means (radio broadcasting, telecommunications, electronics or any other means of data transmission). In addition, article 179 BIS establishes penalties against any person who contact minors by any means of communication, or who is unable to understand the act, or who requests sexual favors for himself or for a third person, or incurs in conduct considered undesirable and of a sexual nature by the persons who receive it, that causes damage or psycho-emotional suffering, or that violates their dignity
These crimes shall be prosecuted by criminal complaint and the penalties shall be from four to six years of imprisonment and from 500 to 1000 Units of Measurement and Updating (“UMAs”); that is meaning from 43,440 to 86,880 pesos.
Additionally, the amendments to articles 209 and 236 establish that the above-mentioned penalties will be increased when: (i) the victim is a family member, there has been a relationship of affection, teacher-student, employment, subordination or superiority; (ii) is committed by a public official; (iii) is committed against senior citizens, disabled, homeless or indigenous people; (iv) digital or electronic media or any other device of communication are used as a means of committing the offence and in the cases that the offence uses images, audios or videos with an intimate sexual content.
The main purpose of the reforms to the Mexico City Criminal Code and the Law on Women’s Access to a Violence-Free Life in Mexico City is to raise awareness of the causes and consequences of online violence against women, and to generate prevention and training programs with a gender perspective. Certainly, with these new reforms, it is now possible to sanction digital violence against women and the disabled.