You may have heard it plenty times before: “Mexico is dangerous.”
If you’ve ever travelled to, or even talked about venturing to Mexico, chances are you might have been met with genuine concern. Though Mexico is the home to some of the best vacation resorts and rich culture, states such as Jalisco and Chihauhua have been the target of crime.
News, such as the mass killings of 43 male students last September, shocked the world and deemed Mexico even more dangerous. The mass killings were met with fear, confusion and secrecy. Till this day, the world, and even Mexico, is still not completely sure how the mass killings could have happened, and their questions just pile up more and more, like the bodies of the students found months after the murder.
This unfortunately was not the first, nor the last mass murder Mexico experienced. Mexico is currently battling what is referred to as a “feminicidio,” which in English is translated to “femicide:” a chain of murders that occur mostly on women.
According to AlJazzera America, six women are killed each day in Mexico due to femicide. The men committing these murders range from jealous boyfriends, rapists, and men who just do not value women and their lives. There is hardly any justice for these women because perpetrators are not reprimanded due to Mexico’s harsh governmental and political corruption.
One horrific story includes a man who killed his ex-girlfriend Rose Diana of Atizapan de Zargoza, Mexico. Rosa’s father is still seeking justice for his daughter’s death four years ago, and hopes to see her murderer behind bars. Unfortunately, local officials will still not put him in prison, the same officials who denied Rosa a restraining order she requested when her ex-boyfriend broke into her home and threatened to kill her. Rosa’s father still sets up a shrine dedicated to his daughter in his home every morning.
Mexico and other Southern American countries including El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras have actually been the home to these crimes on women for decades now.
The consistency of these crimes have even been documented into popular narratives, including the popular stage play “Las Mujeres de Juarez” (“The Women of Juarez”), about a woman’s search for her missing daughter, and the police corruption she discovers hiding these crimes. I watched a performance of “Las Mujeres de Juarez” during my sophomore year of high school in 2006. As a Mexican-American who annually visited her extended family in Mexico, it never occurred to me that Mexico was exceptionally more dangerous for women. My father constantly reminded me to be extra careful whenever I explored his hometown in Jalisco, Mexico with my cousins. I assumed he was just warning me because we were on vacation; I did not think that his warning was elevated because of the crimes on women. Las Mujeres de Juarez was an eye-opener for me. “This play will change things. I’m sure things will be better for women in Mexico once everyone sees this play,” I thought to myself while watching it. I, unfortunately, was very wrong 8 years later.
Bodies of these female victims can be found in alleyways, road sides and even public spaces, such as parks or neighborhood streets. Body parts of victims have even been found floating in sewage lines. By-passers in Mexico can even find a body of a dead women lying on a sidewalk, abandoned, and let down by the very people who are hired to save her. Her life taken, and her family left with only a body to bury and injustice to carry until the day their loved one’s murderer is punished for his crime.
I advise you continue to read up about these crimes, and that you share this information with your friends. Documentaries such as 1993’s Señorita Extraviada, 2007’s “Juarez: The City Where Women are Disposable,” “Border Echoes” and 2014’s “Blood Rising” tell the stories from the the victims’ families and the women who got away from their killers. Funding programs such as the Global Giving’s “Ending Violence Against Women in Juarez, Mexico” are also great ways to start, but documentaries and programs like these are hardly noticed and should receive more attention.
No one wants to hear about killings, ever, but if you and your friends could just take in a moment of uncomfortable reading and dark conversation, it could possibly prevent a woman from losing their life.
Image via cipamericas.org.