Femicide/Feminicide – the systematic murder of women – in Guatemala has reached record numbers with more than 6,000 women having been tortured, mutilated, and/ or murdered. The numbers in Guatemala continue to grow with an average of 1-2 women being murdered daily. MuJER participates on local, national, and international committees in order to help fight against such extreme forms of violence against women and to help protect the rights of all Guatemalan women. MuJER has testified and worked closely with the International Human Rights Commission in order to bring awareness to the daily violence that plagues women and to bring justice to the families of the victims.
“Femicide is on the extreme end of a continuum of antifemale terror that includes a wide variety of verbal and physical abuse, such as rape, torture, sexual slavery(particularly in prostitution), incestuous and extrafamilial child sexual abuse, physical and emotional battery, sexual harassment (on the phone, in the streets, at the office, and in the classroom), genital mutilation (clitoridectomies, excision, infibulations), unnecessary gynecological operations(gratuitous hysterectomies), forced heterosexuality, forced sterilization, forced motherhood (by criminalizing contraception and abortion), psychosurgery, denial of food towomen in some cultures, cosmetic surgery, and other mutilations in the name of beautification. Whenever these forms of terrorism result in death, they become femicides.”
Diana E. H. Russell, feminist writer and activist.
Femicide ocurrs all over the world although is particularly notorious in Latin America and the Caribbean with the rate Guatemala being third highest only to El Salvador and Jamaica. Rape, torture and Mutilation is a tragically common theme. Women are particularly vulnerable in unsafe environments such as sex work where poverty and organized crime are commonplace. The majority of victims come from disadvantaged backgrounds and have already been victims of trafficking or working in the sex trade.
Femicide is often misreported as “gang- related” crime or indeed, unreported completely. When it is reported, the laws specifically targeting Femicide have resulted in very low levels of conviction due to a lack of clarity and common definition. Perpetrators enjoy a state of widespread impunity. The Guatemalan government consider Femicide of low priority as a result of patriarchal beliefs and views on the role of women in society.