TIJUANA (Border Report) — Women who say they are fighting for equality and respect admitted to defacing and vandalizing the city’s popular cultural center as well as monuments in other parts of Baja California.

The acts of vandalism meant to coincide with Mexico’s Independence Day.

The women say they are fighting “femicide,” violent acts against them simply because they are female. They also claim Mexico is a haven for inequality for women.

One woman who claimed to know about the vandalism and identified herself as “Laura,” said “this is an ongoing fight, one that we will continue to pursue because they can’t keep us silent anymore, we’re not afraid anymore and I think this type of action gets us noticed.”

“We’re tried peaceful means, and they won’t even turn to look at us and that’s something I believe in. Many people say this spraying of paint is violence, but that’s not violence, it is when we’re physically attacked,” she said.

At the cultural center, the graffiti and its messages became attractions as hundreds of people showed up to read the slogans spray-painted on the walls and the walkway leading up to its entrance, postings like “in Mexico they kill us,” “my friends protect me,” “Tijuana procures violence,” and “we like ourselves alive.”

A woman named Ramona said the actions were an act of courage by the women who tagged the center.

“This gives all of us activists a voice, it’s gives our message access to the public, so they know what happens to women on a daily basis, many who had not gotten near the cultural center came to read the messages and see how problematic this has gotten, it’s brought reality to them,” she said. “This is a record of the struggle and I believe in the future, young women and men too, boys and girls will see this and know the truth about what’s been going on.”

According to the head of Mexico’s public safety administration, Tijuana is the worst city in Mexico when it comes to violent acts against women, especially murders. During the first seven months of the year, 21 women were killed for no other reason than because of their gender, murdered during domestic violence disputes or assaults on the streets.

Cultural center administrators said they respected the protest and decided to postpone the cleanup to allow people the opportunity to come by and read the messages saying “we decided not to impede the exchange of ideas.”