Americans are divided when it comes to the right way to deal with the influx of immigrants from Latin America. But for those looking to compromise, start with this: women in the worst parts of Latin America, and their children, must have preferential treatment in the asylum line.
It’s truly a matter of life and death for the women of Latin America. With few means and little recourses to relocate, making the trek to America’s southern border seems like one of the few options aside from kowtowing to the wishes of the gangs that run a virtually ungoverned region of the world.
There’s no escaping the grim reality: females in Latin America are being slain at record rates, and there’s nobody who seems able to stop it.
There’s the Salvadoran women’s theater troupe what they can to stop the violence.
‘La Cachada Theater—named after the catchphrase vendors yell to hawk their products—has taken off, performing before packed theaters here, in Spain, Costa Rica and Guatemala.
All the women (in the troupe) had in some way suffered violence at the hands of men—and all were well aware of El Salvador’s reputation as one of the most lethal countries in the world to be a woman. Ms. Larreynaga saw the theater as an avenue to educating the public about rising violence against women here while helping the participants of the performances to deal with their own open wounds.’ (Wall Street Journal)
But as noble and brave as their cause is, they’re a women’s theater troupe. In reality, their awareness-raising tactics are no match for the merciless, bloodthirsty gangs that regard a woman’s – and man’s, for that matter – life as having little more value than the stray cat prowling the neighborhood for scraps. The statistics show this to be true.
‘At least 2,795 women were murdered in 2017 due to their gender in 23 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, according to official data compiled by the Gender Equality Observatory for Latin America and the Caribbean (GEO) of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).’ (Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean)
Though the statistics across the board are alarming, there is no nation where violence against women is more rampant than El Salvador – a nation ruled by the MS-13 gang and often cited as one of the use cases for undesirable immigrants flooding into the United States.
‘In absolute terms, the list of femicides is led by Brazil (with 1,133 victims confirmed in 2017). Nonetheless, if the rate per every 100,000 women is compared, the phenomenon has a scope in El Salvador that is seen nowhere else in the region: 10.2 femicides for every 100,000 women. In 2016, Honduras recorded 5.8 femicides for every 100,000 women. In Guatemala, the Dominican Republic and Bolivia, high rates were also seen in 2017, equal to or above 2 cases for every 100,000 women. In the region, only Panama, Peru and Venezuela have rates below 1.0.’ (ECLAC)
Then there are the individual cases that paint the picture more vividly than statistics ever could.
‘One of the main promoters of women's football in Mexico, Marbella Ibarra, has been killed.
Her body, which showed signs of torture, was found wrapped in plastic sheeting in Rosarito, a beach resort south of the border city of Tijuana.
She had disappeared last month and her family believe she was kidnapped. The motive behind her murder is unclear.’ (BBC)
Motives for murder can be unclear. Or, they can be known, and as frivolous as refusing to date the wrong gangster.
‘Andrea Guzmán was just 17 but sensed the danger. For weeks, the chieftain of a violent gang had made advances that turned to threats when she rebuffed him.
He responded by dispatching seven underlings dressed in black to the two-room house she shared with her family in this hamlet amid corn and bean fields. They tied up her parents and older brother, covered Andrea’s mouth and forcibly led her out into the night in her flip-flops.
Hours later, one of her abductors fired a shot into her forehead in a field nearby. And once again, another woman had been slain, one of thousands in recent years in this violent swath of Central America, simply because of her gender.’ (Wall Street Journal)
For all of this violence, the government chastises gangsters and domestic abusers. But the government also puts the blame on…women, apparently.
‘Women in Latin America must stop accepting violence as a normal part of life, government leaders and campaigners said on Thursday…’ (Reuters)
To be fair, survivors of attempted femicide agree that acceptance of domestic violence against women is partially to blame for the rampant murder of women in Latin America.
‘Colombian acid attack survivor Natalia Ponce de Leon said women had to stop being the victims.
Ponce was severely disfigured when a stalker hurled acid at her in 2014, causing burns over one quarter of her body, in an attack that shocked the South American country.’ (Reuters
The question is, with violence against women seemingly ingrained in the fabric of the worst of Latin American culture, what is to be done? The government seems incapable of seriously combatting gangs, let alone domestic violence. Women have kids to feed, and kids need their fathers around. With so much violence against women, what is to say one man won’t resort to the same abuse that a woman flees her previous man to save herself from?
Where is she to go? What is she to do?
Flight, it seems, is the only option.