In the May/June issue of Mother Jones, Evelyn Nieves takes an in depth look at the murdered women of Juarez, Mexico and the women’s rights groups that are pressuring the Mexican government to find the killer(s) responsible for the deaths of nearly 270 women in this border city, across from El Paso, Texas, since 1993. The majority of victims, usually workers at U.S. owned assembly plants and factories, were raped and then strangled. Many of the bodies were left in the Chihuahua desert, but bodies have also been found in ditches, fields, and according to Nieves, at least one was found “tossed in the middle of a street in a quiet residential neighborhood.” The Mexican government, however, is no closer to finding the killers. Women’s rights leaders contend that officials are not pursuing the case effectively, a symptom of pervasive violence against women in Mexico. In response, Mexican women’s rights groups have staged protests, marched to the state attorney general’s office, and held vigils for the victims, hoping to keep pressure on law enforcement to bring the killer(s) to justice. These groups have also successfully urged the creation of a commission on the murders in the Mexican Congress and the appointment of a state prosecutor to the case, though the state prosecutor position has yet to be filled consistently.
Mexico-based groups are also getting help from U.S. women’s right groups. The Coalition on Violence Against Women and Families on the Border, headed by Texas state legislator Norma Chavez and based in El Paso, will hold numerous demonstrations on behalf of the women of Juarez. The Coalition is also asking U.S. companies to become more involved in the issue, as the majority of victims work for U.S. companies that often do not provide enough security to protect the safety of their workers. Students in the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance at the University of Texas at El Paso are also calling attention to the murders. More than 100 students held a silent protest last month and distributed leaflets in El Paso decrying the efforts of both Mexican and U.S. officials in solving the crimes.
To learn more about the women of Juarez, see previous stories on the Feminist News.