[cross]Britney Spears violates another law. More than 400 women murdered in Mexico cities since 1993. Year-long search for missing woman ends in arrest. Deserts in Juarez sprinkled with bones, more than 70 women still missing. Detroit mayor caught in text messaging scandal. Juarez murders remain largely unsolved.
Some of these headlines we cannot get away from, while others we may have never seen. We’re more than aware of the war in the Middle East and the concerns surrounding parts of Africa, yet for the most part we’re oblivious to what happens just across the border. The entire country is saddened when a young, white woman goes missing or is murdered, and for good reason. Why is it any different that just across the Rio Grande, roughly 10 miles from El Paso, Texas, more than 400 young women have been raped, murdered and left in surrounding deserts?
The femicide in Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua continues to plague the border town. Beginning in 1993, women as young as 14 went to work at the local maquiladoras, or factories, and never returned. Ciudad Juarez, with a population of about 2 million (according to Amnesty International), is home to numerous U.S.-owned maquiladoras employing these young women.
According to reports, slim women with dark skin and long black hair began disappearing, yet no one seemed to mind. Families worried and searched while many authorities held off on investigations. Authorities said the young women invited the murders by dressing provocatively and spending time in bars and on the streets. Missing person reports were not taken seriously and the violence continued.
Documentaries, poster art, poetry and fiction and non-fiction novels all present theories backed with evidence gathered concerning the serial murders. Most suggest the corrupt government and police have a large hand in the murders. Evidence of forceful police interrogations and officers speaking crudely about women in Juarez exists. Capitalism and the rise of U.S.-owned maquiladoras are seldom overlooked as well. Many even go as far to pin the murders on one or more serial killers working together in a network. With evidence of ritual murders present, this theory seems like a viable one.
The lack of investigations led citizens to take matters into their own hands. Families and friends formed search parties, similar to those formed here when one woman goes MIA, and scoured the desert, often finding more than they bargained for.
The FBI finally intervened in 1999 and conducted an investigation with vague conclusions. They said several different men probably committed the murders, and that it would be unwise to believe one serial killer committed all the murders. All theories aside, the violence continues. Strides have been made with the support of informed citizens in Mexico, the United States and other parts of the world. Jennifer Lopez and Antonio Banderas recently joined Amnesty International in the fight for justice. State officials have been accused of withholding information, but have yet to pay for their crimes.
With all of this rape, murder and corruption occurring mere miles from Texas, how is it that now, 15 years later, so many Americans remain unaware of the violence?
The media generated concerning the femicide is not hard news. It won’t run daily on CNN, nor will it make its way into many regional papers. Support is generated through the documentaries, art and literature created about it. Facebook groups urge users to sign petitions and join the fight. Is this enough? Raising awareness is necessary in order to make change, and after 15 years of violence, it is time for change to occur. Maybe it’s time these sorts of headlines hit our daily newsstands as often as those concerning other missing white women do. How long can we turn our heads from such violence and corruption separated from our country by a river? It’s time the media pushed the headlines of the latest celebrity baby scare to the second or third page, leaving room for the voices of so many women who will never speak again.
Las mujeres de Juarez demanden justicia.