Femicide and Hell for Women in Guatemala
Since the year 2000, more than 3,800 women and girls (mostly from ages 13 to 36) have been murdered in Guatemala. And even though a law was passed in May 2008 condemning gender-related crimes, women are still mistreated by the Guatemalan judicial system, further spreading hate crimes against them.
According to a 2005 report on femicide, one third of the women who were killed to that date had previously reported incident of dometic violence, and it is possible they were precisely murdered because they denounced the violence. This makes Guatemala the third worst place to live for women in the region, next to Mexico and El Salvador.
Just in May 29, three young girls, aged 7, 8 and 12 were killed with brutality on their way home from school, in the town of Manzanillo. Heidy, Diana and Wendy, their throats cut, were still wearing their school uniforms and their backpacks were found next to the bodies. Their weeping mother told La Prensa Libre that just days before the murder, Wendy was proudly telling her how tall she had become, and Heidy had just asked for a new notebook to take to school.
And in March, the dismembered bodies of six women were found scattered throughout Guatemala City. One of the women, Ingrid Cruz, was videotaped as her body was being mutilated. Her murderers uploaded the video to YouTube, but it was removed due to its content.
There are endless stories. In 2008, little 3-year-old Sofía Juárez was raped and murdered. Her body remained missing for two days. It is still under investigation if her father, Carlos Antonio Juárez (26), who attempted suicide, was the murderer.
However, one of the cases that had gained more attention from the media was Rodi Alvarado's case. In 1984, at the age of 16, Rodi married Francisco Osorio. Immediately after their wedding, she was violently assaulted and beaten by Francisco. The Centre for Gender & Refugee Studies further details Rodi's situation:
"Osorio raped and sodomized Rodi, infecting her with sexually transmitted diseases, broke windows and mirrors with her head, dislocated her jaw, and tried to abort her child by kicking her violently in the spine. Besides using his hands and his feet against her, he also resorted to weapons, pistol-whipping her and terrorizing her with his machete. Rodi tried to flee the family home on several occasions, but her husband always tracked her down – one time beating her into unconsciousness in front of their two children to punish her for trying to escape."
This happened to her over a course of a decade. Rodi begged the local authorities to protect her, but her attempts failed over and over again. The police ignored her calls asking for help, and never arrested Osorio. Rodi finally fled to the United States, and was granted political asylum in 1996. However, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), in 1999, ordered that Rodi be deported to Guatemala. To date, her case has still not been decided. The Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security are expected to clear the situation.
In 2007, BBC's Giselle Portenier directed a film that documented heartbreaking stories of femicide victim's friends and family, even rapists and gang members. The idea of Killer's Paradise is to capture the emotions of all those who are affected by the harsh reality of hate crimes in Guatemala.
On top of all the unsolved murders and crimes towards women, The Survivors Foundation are denouncing the kidnapping of children (mainly girls), who are stolen from their mothers and later put into adoption illegally.
Guatemalan femicides are tied to racism and paternalism, but the levels of impunity are rooted in the corrupt hidden powers of Guatemala. The oligarchy has not interest in investigating crimes committed towards mainly indigenous women.
Meanwhile, women and female children are still under a never-ending war against their gender, and there are no signs of justice for them.