Letter from Guatemala

The killing of three sisters shocks a country where the past decade has seen a rise in violence toward women:

“Since the turn of the millennium, over 5,000 women have been murdered in Guatemala. To give a better idea of what this figure means, consider that if Guatemala, with its population of 14 million, were the size of the United States, this would add up to 110,000 women murdered in a decade. And conditions are only worsening with the passage of time. In 2000, 213 women met violent deaths in Guatemala, compared to 720 in 2009 and 675 in 2010. Worse still, only an estimated 2 percent of these cases have received legal action. The victims are mostly the ‘nobodies’ of society, poor women, in many cases indigenous, from families lacking resources and education. Their bodies are often found mutilated, with indications of rape. Investigations are routinely botched, if they’re even pursued. ‘She was a prostitute,’ a police investigator might say if the victim has a belly-button ring or is wearing a miniskirt. The investigation is closed before being opened.”

Published: Apr 4, 2012
Length: 14 minutes (3,709 words)
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