LIFESTYLE

A trio of young women fire back at sexual harassment in Mexico City

There's a new group of vigilantes terrorizing Mexico City. They're young, female and fully armed. 

Like Pussy Riot in Russia before them, "Las Hijas de Violencia" ("Daughters of Violence") are a feminist art collective, and they battle misogyny and men who harass women in Mexico City.

Their weapons are punk music and confetti guns.

In a viral music video/mini-documentary, the group describes how it retaliates against cat-callers on the street – chasing people down and shooting them with colorful confetti guns and "serenading" their foes with a raucous tune titled, “Sexist Punk.”

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The group, Ana Karen, 25, Ana Beatriz, 28, and Betzabeth Estefania, 24, are all from Mexico City. The trio first met while acting in a play that touched on feminist themes, but they all felt, didn't go far enough. So they decided to come together and take their feminism to the streets.

Fox News Latino spoke to the 'Las Hijas de Violencia'  via e-mail to discuss their popular viral videos show the women chasing down their harassers. 

They told FNL that the idea of the confetti guns evolved from their work on the play, and the almost normalized violence they encounter on the street.

“We found that the purest example of the legitimization of violence against women is in the public space, with everyone seeing it. We came up with a symbolic action. A song and a gun filled with confetti are 'harmless' because they don’t hurt the aggressor – but symbolically it's a response that generates an impact and a surprise the man doesn’t expect, and the role of power changes,” Las Hijas wrote.  

Las Hijas said men usually run when confronted but not always. 

“Once they yelled to us from a car, saying they were going to kidnap us and rape us, but when we run to them, they flee. This shows that their intimidating attitude is only an attempt to hold onto their control of the situation,” the group said.

The reaction from other women in Mexico City is often one of comradery. Men, on the other hand, have been less than pleased. 

“[Women] have written to us about how enthusiastic and motivated they are to respond to daily harassment. On the other hand, we've gotten a lot of bullying and harassment online as well – from men. But that's a situation that feminists live with, and we are urgently looking into installing some cyber security measures,” Las Hijas told FNL.

The severity of casual sexual harassment on the streets of Mexico City is an enormous issue in the country as a whole.

A United Nations report ranked Mexico as the worst country in the world in sexual violence against women, estimating that 44 percent of women have suffered some sort of sexual violence, from groping to rape. The situation is so bad that Mexico City offers female-only cars on subways and, in 2008, introduced female-only buses, which are painted pink.

Recently, the World Bank, launched a pilot program called Hazme el Paro – Mexican slang for "watch my back" – that uses technology to try to fight sexual harassment.

The program involves free WiFi on the bus and a smartphone app that encourages riders to report sexual abuse, including unwanted stares and/or physical contact. 

Las Hijas said that bystanders are sometimes shocked when they witness the confetti gun, but they’re more dismayed by the daily violence against women that's expressed in the world every day.

“Our lives are always at risk just for being women – and harassment is only the tip of the iceberg," Las Hijas told FNL. "We fight to live, and we are hopeful that someday we will be able to go out on the street and not feel courageous but free.”

Rebekah Sager is a writer and editor for FoxNews.com. She can be reached at rebekah.sager@foxnews.com. Follow her on Twitter @rebekah_sager.