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Violence against women in Mexico surges out of control, but who is to blame?

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
3/11/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Culture, corruption, demand for illicit sex and drugs, all fueling an unprecedented surge of violence.

Mexico is a dangerous place to be female. Girls and women alike face astounding rates of violence which includes rape and murder. The horrifying conditions are related to Mexico's failed war on drugs and the breakdown of law and order in many areas, as well as government incompetence and corruption.

Women in Mexico protest the violence, but without meaningful changes in attitudes and from the government, nothing is likely to improve.

Women in Mexico protest the violence, but without meaningful changes in attitudes and from the government, nothing is likely to improve.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
3/11/2014 (3 years ago)

Published in Americas

Keywords: culture, corruption, Mexico, women, violence, murder, rape


TIJUANA, MEXICO (Catholic Online) - Here in Tijuana, so close to the American border, it almost feels like you can make it. Indeed, many try, however U.S. officials catch many of the women who flee the country and human traffickers, dubbed "coyotes" get nearly all of them.

It is a difficult place to be a woman. Gangs in some areas have become brazen and snatch women off the streets or even from their homes. These women rarely escape. Normally they are raped, they can be forced into prostitution, and often they are murdered. Women's bodies are typically dumped in open fields or abandoned lots where the authorities can collect the bodies.

Pray for an end to violence against women.

Sometimes the victims are so badly mutilated or burned, the victims are never identified. Families will live the rest of their lives, never knowing what happened to their daughters.

There's a variety of contributing factors including Mexico's status as a state teetering on the edge of failure. In many districts, law and order have completely collapsed leaving enforcement to roving gangs tied to the drug cartels to dispense their own form of justice.

Most of the 85,000 murder victims in Mexico since 2006 have been men, yet women make a surprising number of victims too.

For one, there's culture. Mexican culture is traditional in nature and women still hold an inferior place to men. Machismo, or the Mexican expression of masculinity is pervasive. One needs only to look at television broadcasts to appreciate that. Women are objectified almost as a rule.

 Beyond that, there is an air of impunity surrounding criminal behavior. Most murders are never solved. Many missing women are never found and authorities rarely even make the effort to search for them anymore, so common are abductions. Generally, the families themselves have to go looking for their daughters.

There is also a culture of shame which chastises women who are victims of sexual crimes, so many women do not speak out if they are abused.

While it's easy to blame the men of Mexico and government for its incompetence, a large part of the problem is created right across the border in the United States. The insatiable appetite for illegal drugs and sex has made the USA a lucrative destination for human and drug trafficking, In return, massive quantities of cash flow south across the border, financing gangs and fueling further violence.

Without this bustling exchange, much of the violence in Mexico would evaporate as incentive disappears. Or it could change into domestic violence as men lose their thuggish line of work and assume more mainstream lifestyles, but remain psychologically damaged from their former careers in evil.

Whatever happens next in Mexico, women are going to face difficult times. The government still lacks both the resources and the wherewithal to adequately protect women from the predators who prey on them for recreation or out of some other frustration.

The world owes these women and girls a swift change in attitude. Americans need to appreciate that their demands for drugs and illicit sex are leading directly to the mass killing of women in Mexico. Furthermore, the world must ensure that Mexico has the resources and the preparation to reduce the influence of the cartels and their gangs as well as to eliminate corruption in government.

Unfortunately, the history of Mexico is filled with periods of high corruption and scandal, not to mention the systematic dehumanization and maltreatment of women. Given this long history, the culture in Mexico will be difficult to change. Nevertheless, we owe it to our Mexican sisters to make every effort to improve their condition.

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