Femicide in the U.S. and Mexico
Femicide in the U.S. and Mexico
This paper seeks to focus on femicide and physical violence against women in both the US and Ciudad Juarez in Mexico. Femicide is the act of murdering women for the simple reason that they are of female gender (Koutsoyannis, 2011). Essentially, gender inequality is one of the most long-lived social, political, and economic struggles globally. The idea that women are lesser beings just because they are females is a primitive perspective in the contemporary world where liberty and civil rights have now come of age. As such, it interests me a lot when violence and intimidation against women has found its way in the modern world. It raises a critical alarm when women are subjected to such atrocities even in such a country like the United States despite having some of the most developed democratic ideologies and civil rights. This is an indication that sexual based violence especially against women is far from over. In addition, as a healthcare professional, it is evident that the most important engagement is saving lives. As such, any atrocity that leads to the loss of life is actually a threat to the sustainability of a healthcare system as well as the immediate health-based welfare of individuals. It, therefore, goes without saying that the issue of physical violence and femicide is of crucial importance when it comes to attaining a healthy society.
Importantly, it must be remembered that physical violence against women leads to chronic psychological issues such as post-traumatic stress disorders. These are critical medical conditions that must be addressed from a health professional’s point of view. Further, it is up to all humans to stand up and fight the challenges of our times. Indeed, if we do not confront these challenges as citizens within our small spaces, it will be difficult to eliminate the entire menace. In the critical sense, women form a fundamental part of our economy and society as a whole. In that light, it is upon the healthcare professionals and other personnel alike to defend their rights and protect the civil space they should enjoy. These are some of the issues that have informed the decision to focus on this topic with a view to provide solutions for the causative and risk factors of women in regard to violence and femicide. The decision to choose Mexico, and Ciudad Juarez specifically, is based on the fact that the country has been adversely affected by this vice for quite a long time. Women in Ciudad Juarez are killed without reason just because they are women (Panther, 2007; Wright, M. W., 2011). The society has objectified them such that they only consider them as objects, which should serve men and provide sexual satisfaction. In essence, this is a dangerous path to follow. Yet, it provides an opportunity to determine some of the factors that contribute to femicide and violence against women. It also becomes a basis of determining the factors that have been maintaining the unacceptable behavior. With the comparison of the USA situation, it will be a holistic enquiry pointing to the way forward as far as confronting the issue is concerned. As such, this paper looks forward to determine the risk factors, the contributing factors, and the possible solutions.
In essence, the murdering of women especially in Mexico happens along the border of Mexico and United States capturing the attention of the world (Albuquerque & Vemala, 2008). This is an indication that the overt prevalence of femicide in Mexico is actually a direct concern for USA because it evokes health and security threats in the US as a country. Actually, the overt prevalence of femicide may spill over to the US (Pan, Widner & Enomoto, 2012). Whereas the proximity of Mexico to USA and the high prevalence of this crime are of crucial interests, it is also evident that the vice is a global issue because it happens in most parts of the world. Actually, in third world countries where gender inequality is very high, femicide and physical violence against women tend to happen in similarly high frequencies. As such, it is important to understand the dynamics of femicide and physical violence against women with a view to forge a way forward not only for the USA, but also the entire world. Indeed, this is coupled up with the issues raised in the introductory section.
Male Chauvinism and Gender Inequality
Impunity and Corruption
Whereas the tolerance of the general public is one of the causes of continued growth of femicide in Ciudad, it is also evident that impunity has played a negatively critical role in steering this threat. Now, first recall that Mexico is already highly influenced by drug traffickers. They are strong drug barons that have a well-organized network of people who work to steer the black market around the world. These individuals and groups are able to effectively influence the authorities and make them cooperate with their actions. In this case, since drug barons are able to corrupt government officials, it follows that they are treated like children of higher gods than others. The entire condition of corruption and impunity facilitate drug traffickers to instigate killings that might be either related to drug trafficking or common sexual injustices. For example, if a woman is used to transport drugs from one place to another with the idea that she would be able to penetrate the security systems and find her way to destination, she is found to be a liability to the drug cartels. A closer look into such an example brings out two findings. First, it becomes evident that the society in the country has already objectified women. In other words, they see women as objects rather than human beings whose life is worth just like any other. On the basis of that objectification, they find it easy to terminate the life of the woman in order to conceal their ways from the government and the local authorities. In simpler terms, the drug ring seeks to silence the woman and keep their action covert. This is one of the reasons as to why Mexico has been affected by the issue of femicide and general violence against women. Actually, when it comes to drug cartels, most women are misused sexually and later killed. The sadistic nature of drug cartels and the perception that they are above the law makes them characteristic of easy murder in the country.
At this point, it would be quite controversial when the term “organ trafficking” is not used. The investigation department in Mexico to explain the cause of femicide and physical violence stipulated the theory of organ trafficking. However, it was found to fall short because further investigations indicated that there were not surgical operations to harvest organs in large scale. However, the possibility of selling organs could not be wished away that easily because it is one of the widespread instigations in the contemporary society. In essence, the argument is that the killing of women does not necessarily happen for organized trafficking of organs out of the country. Instead, the idea of killing to obtain organs for selling is very possible. Understandably, transplanting is not an undertaking that takes place often. As such, there would not be such huge demand to provide organs, which mostly require to be provided on urgent demand. In that case, the possibility of drug trafficking is insignificant. In addition to this, it cannot be disputed that organ trafficking require well organized and developed infrastructure for the purpose of executing, harvesting, and transporting all against the eyes of the authorities. This argument further removes the vast possibility of organs trafficking.
This is one of the critical causes that lead to the murder of women in the US. Domestic violence erupts from conflict especially between husband and wife. As such, most cases show the tendency of men acting overboard resulting to death of their partners. One of such conflicts may actually emerge from infidelity between husband and wife. At the point of confrontation, women find themselves at a higher risk of being assaulted physically. Understandably, physical violence and assaults can go as far as causing death. Various cases of domestic violence leading to either physical assaults or murder of women have been recorded in the country. Actually, in some cases, femicide does not occur with the first case of confrontation between the two individuals. Instead, it is caused by continuous domestic hitches that lead to build up of hatred and preparation to kill.
The debate revolving around the use and control of the gun is at its all-time high with the various players trying to find a solution on the cases of murder that happen due to the access of gun and subsequent misuse. In this regard, a study conducted by Campbell et al. (2003) showed that gun availability as one of the fundamentally critical precedent risk factors the lead to the emergence of conflict and ultimate murder of women especially by their partners. In this case, some minor factors such as living apart and domination by a controlling partner were also found to have some effect on the possibility of causing femicide although the relationship between the two is fairly minor.
Active Involvement of Police
Essentially, this is one of the causative agents identified by Herrera et al. (2010) when seeking to unearth and critique some of the proposed causes of femicide. In this regard, the scholars found that Mexico is a huge victim of femicide caused by the discipline forces such as the police and the army. In this regard, they trace the origin of femicide back to the time of dirty war when the government tried to repress the will of protesters and the citizens using death (Ensalaco, 2006). Due to repressing the people, government led to the death of people and the fall of law. As such, the land started neglecting the law and the regime started buying some of these ideologies. This grew over time to a point where it encourages femicide and repress efforts by the public as well as the authorities to eliminate the vice. Actually, the FBI identified that about 600 executions of people by both the army and the police took place during the repression otherwise known as the dirty war (Glass, 2004). These executions set a dangerous precedence to the effect that the people were unable to contain some illegal behaviours and to entrench the rule of law once more.
Comparisons and Mainstream Attitude of the Society against Femicide
There are mixed feelings and attitudes in regard to femicide when it comes to the Mexican society. In this regard, the Mexicans are a little tolerant of the issue of femicide in their country. In the critical sense, however, they are fairly indifferent due to the general disregard for the rule of law as compared to a country such as the US. Actually, this is clearly demonstrated by the fact that the cases identified are never resolved to exhaustion. Nonetheless, there are groups that have come up to protect the rights of women and reduce the rate of femicide. Actually, there have been various protests by women in the streets campaigning against femicide and violence directed to women on the basis of gender. This is an indication that the Mexicans have woken up to the reality that femicide is a vice that must be eliminated at all cost. On the other hand, the US has shown robust willingness to fight femicide and all other gender related conflicts. Essentially, the society is highly condemnatory of the vice of femicide. It is in the interest all most Americans to make sure that femicide is eliminated in the state. As such, it would be rightly concluded that the vice is progressively getting the required attention from the two countries with special emphasis on the citizens.
Organizations Dealing with Femicide
In Mexico, one of the most robust organizations that deal with the vice of femicide is the National Citizen Femicide Observatory (OCNF). This organization has two major engagements which include monitoring the femicidal acts in Mexico and compiling data in order to track the causes of the vice and hence come up with formidable solutions. In addition, they lead picketing and protests to keep the authorities on its toes. Actually, this organization has led to the decision by government head to order action against perpetrators through local authorities. Its major goal is to make sure that the prevalence of femicide in Mexico is well documented and publicized in order to keep government into account. Actually, this is also a war for accountability (Marchand, 2004). It is their hope that the publication of the prevalence and subsequent protects will help to create awareness among the citizens. With such awareness, the citizens will not only denounce indifference and stand up for their rights, but they will also seek to become part of the solutions especially in regard to creating rules and regulations that fight this menace. In the US, there is an organization known as Mikira, which was conceived by Aragon Catro. This is a woman who was brought up in Mexico, but she is currently based in the US where the organization is registered to fight femicide both countries. Her major goal is also to focus and investigate acts of femicide with a view to make sure that the world closes in to end the vice. These two organizations are a clear indication that common citizens can contribute to the war against femicide in their own little space.
Often, the most effective method of dealing with violence is through education. I would propose visiting the website of the Mukira organization, which lists their activities, opportunities for new volunteers, and propositions on how to fight femicide in Mexico specifically. The website is in Spanish, so it is an organization that is very localized in Mexico, looking to provide protection for single mothers and young women as well as act as a Center for Justice for women specifically. They get endorsed by UNESCO for their achievements and services. There is also Steev Hise’s documentary On the Edge: The Femicide in Ciudad Juarez, which is a visual representation on the issue of femicide in the area. The documentary is in English which provides access for US citizens to be able to obtain information about the murders that happen in this border city, and learn why it is so important to understand this phenomenon. This is especially considerable since this city is on the border between Mexico and Texas. It interviews citizens of the city as well as victims who have survived attacks, relatives of deceased victims, and US federal officials that have been investigating this problem. It will also explain socio-economic and cultural problems that are part of this complicated problem. There is also Teresa Rodriguez’s nonfiction piece The Daughters of Juarez: A True Story of Serial Murder South of the Border. It is a complete, journalistic nonfiction piece that is narrative. It tells the stories of numerous victims and the strife that their family members went through. It also comes with photos of the victims as well as of political figures that were prominent in the area. Along with this, the book investigates the political and socio-economic problems that are prevalent in Ciudad Juarez, as well as profiling potential suspects, giving a well-rounded, substantial look into the problem there.
Ways in Which Femicide is addressed in USA and Mexico
Currently, the US and Mexico have shown commitment in the war against violence directed towards women. Evidently, the United States has been combating femicide majorly through the control of domestic violence, which lead to female casualties. Now, the country has defined legal procedures to ensure that all perpetrators of gender-based violence are brought to book under the law. As such, they have been using legal procedures and the authorities to ensure that the vice is controlled. On the other hand, however, Mexico has actually lost the war against femicide. The vice has been in existence for quite some years and it seems that the situation continues worsening as time progress (Olivera, 2006). Now, the government seems to use its legal frameworks and law enforcement entities to ensure that these events are thwarted. However, the drug cartels seem to have taken control of the governing system such that impunity and corruption cannot allow the effective elimination of the vice.
Identifying an Approach for Addressing Femicide
Essentially, it cannot be disputed that the surest way to curb femicide is through the use of effective laws and legal systems. It is evident that the two countries encounter different societal factors in regard to the issue of femicide. Essentially, Mexico’s struggle with the issue of femicide is more of a structural problem because the authorities are ignorant and uncommitted to fight it (Olivera, 2006). Based on this finding, the government should make legal and action-based reforms to make sure that the country eliminates the vice. Since femicide is steered by other vices such as drug cartels, it becomes important to create strong legal frameworks and decisive persecution procedures to curb the vice. In addition, it is crucial for the citizens to also stand up against the authorities in condemnation of their reluctance to stipulate these laws.
In USA, the country should focus on the tightening of these legal stipulations with a view to control guns and offer vast psychological assistance in order to ensure that radical men are incapacitated to kill easily and at the same time helped to deal with the underlying issues. Borrowing from the past, it has been evident that adherence to the rule of law is one of the surest way of fighting every crime. When all people in the land are treated equally on the face of law, it becomes easy to control the vices that bedevil the society. Otherwise impunity, corruption, and ignorance of the law have a big and devastating price to pay. Some of that price includes the death of innocent people. As such, it can be concluded that the two countries should focus on the tightening of laws on violence against women and femicide.
In perspective, I would wish to make my input with a view to fight femicide in various ways as listed below;
Create awareness among locals on the importance of gender equality to ensure that men consider their female partners as equal beings
Start a healthcare unit to deal with traumatic conditions arising from gender-based violence with a close attention to women.
Partner with humanity-oriented advocates to ensure that cases of femicide are reported and prosecuted to their conclusive end.
It is evident that cases of femicide and violence against women have been on rise due to the deliberate attempt of men to maintain a societal pattern that humiliates the females. Indeed, these cases have been existent in the entire world ranging from the third world countries to the developed ones although the rate differs. In this paper, the case of femicide in the US and Mexico has been discussed vastly to unearth the main causes and the internal scenarios under which it happens. In Mexico, it was found that some of the main causes include the general societal tolerance of femicide and inequity in general. In addition, impunity, corruption, and drug cartels are found to the other main causes of this menace. Essentially, impunity contributes to maintain the operation and facilitate the freedom of the cartels who perpetrate the acts. This maintenance is done by corrupting those in power with a view to keep them silent or ignorant of the issue of violence and femicide against women. On the other hand, the US incurs femicide perpetrated due to factors such as domestic violence and the availability of guns to the public. As such, it is evident that Mexico must struggle to eliminate corruption and tighten its rules in order to make sure there is equality among its citizen. A similar proposition is valid in regard to USA with a view that it should also review the gun laws and work to help people physiologically in order to ensure there is minimal domestic radical violence, which leads to femicide.
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