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Violence and Activism at the Border

KATHLEEN STAUDT
Copyright Date: 2008
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7560/716704
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  • Book Info
    Violence and Activism at the Border
    Book Description:

    Between 1993 and 2003, more than 370 girls and women were murdered and their often-mutilated bodies dumped outside Ciudad Juárez in Chihuahua, Mexico. The murders have continued at a rate of approximately thirty per year, yet law enforcement officials have made no breakthroughs in finding the perpetrator(s). Drawing on in-depth surveys, workshops, and interviews of Juárez women and border activists,Violence and Activism at the Borderprovides crucial links between these disturbing crimes and a broader history of violence against women in Mexico. In addition, the ways in which local feminist activists used the Juárez murders to create international publicity and expose police impunity provides a unique case study of social movements in the borderlands, especially as statistics reveal that the rates of femicide in Juárez are actually similar to other regions of Mexico.

    Also examining how non-governmental organizations have responded in the face of Mexican law enforcement's "normalization" of domestic violence, Staudt's study is a landmark development in the realm of global human rights.

    eISBN: 978-0-292-79435-1
    Subjects: Anthropology, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: PATHWAYS INTO RESEARCH AND ACTION AT THE BORDER
    (pp. ix-xviii)
  4. Chapter 1 VIOLENCE AT THE U.S.-MEXICO BORDER: FRAMING PERSPECTIVES
    (pp. 1-28)

    The world’s attention has focused on Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, at the northern border of Mexico, as the ghastly, premier center of female homicides in the twenty-first century. For more than a decade, grisly reports and documentaries have emerged about the murders of young women, raped and mutilated before death. Theories abound over who is doing the killings. Some attribute the murders to psychopathic serial killers and gangs. Others decry organ harvesting (the 2003 pretext for the Mexican federal government to intervene). Still others claim that drug traffickers enjoy gang sport after profitable sales. The “sons of the rich,” also known...

  5. Chapter 2 CULTURE AND GLOBALIZATION: MALE BACKLASH AT THE BORDER
    (pp. 29-50)

    Violence against women has touched most people in the world, through their own experiences or those of their mothers, daughters, sisters, and/or friends. Violence against women occurs in many forms, from rape, sexual assault, and battering to psychological and verbal attacks including threats and intimidation.

    Sexual and other physical violence is now considered a crime in most civilized countries. In some countries, even verbal and psychological conflicts are legally actionable, but those forms of violence leave less evidence and make prosecution difficult. Conflict is the product of social learning, that is, failures in learning to interact with respect, responsibility, and...

  6. Chapter 3 WOMEN SPEAK ABOUT VIOLENCE AND FEAR: SURVEYS AND WORKSHOPS
    (pp. 51-72)

    Thus far, I have contextualized the border, framed and documented violence against women in the Americas, and considered gender performance as a conceptual tool for understanding changing power relations between men and women, activism against violence, male backlash, and responses from government. In this chapter I will ground the analysis in contemporary realities among women in Ciudad Juárez, many of whom migrated to the border, where they resided in a seemingly lawless mega-city.

    I first highlight major findings from the workshops, survey questions, and scales. Women’s posters revealed keen awareness of violence, its multiple causes, and numerous strategies necessary to...

  7. APPENDIX 3A: RESEARCH DESIGN
    (pp. 72-73)
  8. APPENDIX 3B: BROCHURES DISTRIBUTED TO PARTICIPANTS
    (pp. 74-78)
  9. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  10. Chapter 4 FRAMING AND MOBILIZING BORDER ACTIVISM: FROM FEMICIDE TO VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
    (pp. 79-110)

    Since the mid-1990s, a tiny network of activists in Ciudad Juárez has fomented a denser cross-border organized movement and eventually a looser transnational movement of people horrified at the city’s infamy, femicide, and police impunity. Movement growth and transformation wrought tensions surrounding representations including issue frameworks and spokespersons. In the course of growing networking at the border and beyond, movement activists built a broader base of political support. In so doing, they moved beyond the frame of femicide to embrace the larger issue of stemming violence against women, a move that itself raised tensions.

    To deepen femicide frames, activists drew...

  11. APPENDIX 4A: FICTION OR NONFICTION?
    (pp. 110-111)
  12. APPENDIX 4B: V-DAY 2004 PROCLAMATION, CITY OF EL PASO
    (pp. 112-112)
  13. Chapter 5 GOVERNMENT RESPONSES TO VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
    (pp. 113-142)

    Activists can raise awareness, and nonprofit staff can offer counseling and shelter, but neither group is equipped to intervene in conflict, to investigate and prosecute crimes, or to protect public safety in homes and streets. Those tasks belong to police forces, prosecutors, and the criminal justice system, institutions embedded in the state. In this chapter I offer another perspective on comparative institutions that respond to violence against women in flawed ways, threatening women’s lives and safety. Ideally, criminal justice enforcement institutions operate under the rule of law with professional police work, investigation, fair procedures, and an independent judiciary biased neither...

  14. Chapter 6 TOWARD ERADICATING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AT THE BORDER: CONCLUSIONS
    (pp. 143-158)

    This book is dedicated to the problems of and active resistance to violence against women on both sides of the border. In it I have examined domestic violence and as well as female homicide. One-quarter of women experience physical assault at the hands of their partners, and hundreds of women have been killed in Ciudad Juárez, some of them raped, tortured, and mutilated in what is known worldwide as femicide. Violence against women is the overarching problem, requiring institutional response and cultural changes, not the least of which are preventive measures—toward eradicating cultures of violence, of impunity, of misogyny,...

  15. NOTES
    (pp. 159-160)
  16. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 161-178)
  17. INDEX
    (pp. 179-184)