Monday, September 05, 2005

Torture and Murder of Women in Guatemala

In Guatemala, women are being raped, mutilated and murdered in their thousands. Even little girls have to constantly look over their shoulders. There is little chance of the perpetrators being caught – because often the law is right behind them.

…On average, two women have been killed each day this year.

This is a country where a man can escape a rape charge if he marries his victim – providing she is over the age of 12. In this country, having sex with a minor is only an offence if the girl can prove she is “honest” and did not act provocatively. Here, a battered wife can only prosecute her husband if her injuries are visible for more than 10 days. Here too it is accepted in some communities that fathers “introduce” their daughters to sex.

- from an article by Christine Toomey, The Sunday Times Magazine, August 28, 2005

It seems like a lot of news lately makes me sick, but this story nearly made me actually vomit. Here are some harrowing descriptions:

They found Manuela’s body on the floor in a pool of blood. The baby was propped up in a high chair. Both had been beheaded. The nanny had been raped and mutilated; her breasts and lips had been cut off, her legs slashed.

Maria was found lying face down on wasteland to the west of the capital. Her hands and feet had been tied with barbed wire. She had been raped and stabbed; there was a rope around her neck, her face disfigured from being punched, her body was punctured with small holes, her hair had been cut short and all her nails had been bent back.

Nancy was found stabbed 48 times, her killer or killers had tried to cut off her head.

Less than 10% of murders of women have even been investigated; out of 527 murders in 2004, only one has resulted in a prosecution.

In 1954, the CIA orchestrated a military coup in Guatemala, destabilising the country forever after. The repression and violence for the forty years following the coup were the worst in Latin America, but also the least reported. The majority of perpetrators of atrocities were those armed and trained in “methods of sadistic repression” by the US.

Now much of the terror against women is blamed on organised crime.

“A key element in the history of Guatemala is the use of violence against women to terrorise the population,” explains Eda Gaviola, director of the Centre for Legal Action on Human Rights. “Those who profit from this state of terror are the organised criminals involved in everything from narco-trafficking to the illegal adoption racket, money-laundering and kidnapping. There are clear signs of connections between such activities and the military, police and private security companies, which many ex-army and police officers joined when their forces were cut back.”

Very few people in Guatemala seem to care about the barbarous torture and murder of women, but you can register your protest at http://www.amnesty.org.uk/.

2 comments:

Sinister Steve said...

would you guys quit posting so quick. no time to get a discussion going.

Max said...

Sorry, SS, I can't help it.