Transcript for the Piece Audio version of Women Organizing Against Femicide in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
ANCHOR INTRO: Since the early 1990s, hundreds of women have been murdered and thousands have been reported missing in a Mexican city just over the US border from El Paso, Texas. War News Radio's Jovanna Hernandez talks with organizers combatting violence against women in Ciudad Juarez.
LEAD: Irma Casa, director of Casa Amiga Esther Chavez Cano or Casa Amiga in Ciudad Juarez describes the city as wounded, filled with extortion, kidnappings, burglary, and rape.
Femicide is not certified in any legislation in Mexico, instead the state prosecutes under gender-based crimes. Lydia Govea, the international coordinator of Justicia Para Nuestras Hijas, that is Justice For Our Daughters explains its usage.
GOVEA: In Ciudad Juarez, feminicidio or femicide was first used as mutilated bodies of women were being found in the desert. When women are killed because they are women, due to matters of culture, due to machismo, and the way society sees women permits it.
NUT “GRAFF: The Mexican state is failing to respond effectively. Despite the 2007 ratification of a law intended to prevent, punish, and eradicate violence against women, combating gender violence is still difficult as assaults have not significantly declined.
CASA: It’s a very comprehensive law that if it were really executed and applied, well, women would have many benefits.
HERNANDEZ: Casa explains the role of women in Mexico is to keep the family together, and that rights do not protect women from domestic violence within families.
CASA: I think it is a flaw on behalf of the Mexican state in the way they desire to treat women within a family when the family is already dysfunctional or when the family can no longer or is no longer there.
HERNANDEZ: Casa Amiga works to change the outlook for women with empowerment workshops and other prevention efforts, and also by offering legal aid when women wish to file a divorce.
CASA: Many women often return to the violent situation, primarily, because they have an economic support, because they are not economically self-sufficient.
HERNANDEZ: Casa says they also maintain a computer workshop
CASA: We are also looking into the possibility for the women to become self-employed that would broaden their options but also providing emotional support, understanding the difficulty of leaving a violent relationship.
HERNANDEZ: In article 4 of the General Law on Women’s Access to a Life Free of Violence states the guiding principles to women’s safety. It explicitly defines violence as any act that causes psychological, physical, economic, sexual, or death in the public and private space.
Additionally the law advocates for programs that illuminate, punish, and eradicate the outlined forms of violence. Yet, Casa is disappointed at the state’s relationship to the law.
CASA: Although the law has been ratified since 2007 in the state of Chihuahua, since that year the law has had zero resources or funding, and, more worrisome, most legislators don’t even know about the law.
GOVEA: In the state of Chihuahua, we have not had the advancement that we want in order to protect women.
CASA: (16:50) Women's issues are being hidden--pushed aside as if nothing was happening when women are being murdered, when women are still missing, when women are still living domestic violence and voices are not being heard. This is an on-going issue that has been occurring for over twenty years now.
GOVEA: We achieved some progress this year with the creation of the Prosecutor’s Office for the Attention of Women Victim of Crimes Relating to Gender.
HERNANDEZ: The new office intends to investigate with a concentration on scientific and multidisciplinary approaches; as well as, establishing a solid structure that not only yield toward concrete results, but, is also comprehensive to the needs of the victims by incorporating established centers for the justice of women and their methodologies against gender violence.
GOVEA: It’s a great advancement to the citizens of Chihuahua because the crimes against women will now have its own prosecutors office and we have faith that it is a step forward and the beginning of many other initiatives. It will mark a change from what justice for women was and what it can be.
HERNANDEZ: Still, Casa points out that funding is decreasing, and that there are fewer projects working on ending femicides. She also advocates for the community to follow up with state officials and ensure that the General Law on Women’s Access to a Life Free of Violence is carried out.
GOVEA: The disappearances and assassinations continue here. And to quote our coordinator, “we can’t create justice by burying the past, justice is achieved through justice it is not negotiable.”
HERNANDEZ: Meanwhile, Casa Amiga continues to document the femicides for the two leading local newspapers- El Norte and El Diario in order to bring femicides to light on behalf of the community of Ciudad Juarez and give voice to the victims. For War News Radio, I’m Jovanna Hernandez.Back