Review: Making a Killing: Femicide, Free Trade, and La Frontera

Trigger warning.

Since the days of Prohibition, Juarez has been a place for First World visitors to come and indulge in any number of illicit pleasures (alcohol, guns, drugs, sex). It is also the site where global capital has been making a killing to the tune of billions of dollars in annual profit…Because pollution laws are conveniently lax, the factories can emit fumes and dump waste without much concern or coversight. For all these reason, the U.S.-Mexico border has been made into something of an international sacrifice zone.

I’m not sure how old I was when I first heard about the women who were being sexually violated, horribly mutilated, and discarded like garbage in the desert surrounding Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The femicide that has claimed the lives of hundreds of women–with thousands more unaccounted for–began in 1993, although no one can really know for sure. Looking at several of the time frames listed in Making a Killing: Femicide, Free Trade, and La Frontera and doing the math, I was stunned to realize that I’ve been hearing about this femicide for at least fifteen years now. Over the years, I’ve been even more stunned to learn how many people still don’t know that the murders are even taking place.

To give a brief overview: since 1993, hundreds of women have been found in the desert, deserted lots, and landfills, as well as in more public areas. Mexican government officials and various NGOs estimate that around 350-600 murders have occurred, though there’s no way to get an exact figure, especially since thousands of women have disappeared without a trace over the years. The youngest of the (known) victims are five years old and the oldest are in their seventies, but most of the victims are teenagers and young women in their early twenties, many of whom worked in maquiladoras along the border. Before dying, many of the women suffered through various forms of unimaginable cruelty–stabbings, burnings, beatings, rape, genital mutilation, breast mutilation. Because of the nature of the murders, the femicide has often been sensationalized by the media. But as one of the book’s contributors, a forensic psychologist named Candice Skrapec, writes:

[The crime scenes in Juarez] are like what we see in North America in cases involving the sexual violation of the victims…the motive may be less sensational, and, in fact, more like what we are accustomed to seeing: sexual violations of victims for purposes of personal gratification on the part of the offenders who then discard the bodies.

Yet to this day, the crimes continue to go unpunished. As more information about the femicide came to light, the victims were the ones who were initially blamed by the government, police, and the media for their own murders and disappearances; they were rumored to be prostitutes or wild girls who liked to stay out and party, leaving themselves vulnerable to attack.

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I Stand with Planned Parenthood.

This post is part of Fair and Feminist’s I Stand with Planned Parenthood Blog Carnival. This post also has a bit of TMI. Just sayin’.

Last week, when the US House of Representatives voted to withhold federal funds from Planned Parenthood, I furiously went on a bit of a tweeting spree, trying to squeeze as much into 140 characters as possible. One of my tweets said: “Don’t know what I wouldve done w/o Planned Parenthood when jobless. Helped me SO MUCH w/svcs I wouldnt b able 2 afford @reg doc #StandWithPP.”

But actually, I know exactly what I would’ve done if I hadn’t been able to see a doctor at Planned Parenthood: On several occasions, I would’ve had to go to an emergency room and wait in sheer agony, at which point I would’ve flat-out lied in response to standard questions about my medical history in order to avoid any possibility of condescension (and an unnecessary pregnancy test).  And then, in the months that followed, I would’ve had to deal with bills that I’m damn sure would have been turned over to a collection agency by now.

You see, I am cursed with semi-frequent UTIs. I haven’t had a nasty one in a long while, but for whatever reason, there was a period when I was living in New York when I was getting them every month or two. To make matters worse, my UTIs tend to be asymptomatic: one minute I’m feeling great, the next minute I’m doubled over in pain and peeing clots of blood. It SUCKS.

It sucks even more when you are completely broke and desperate and internet-less and living thousands of miles from home and have no idea where to find a doctor, and it’s a Friday afternoon and all the doctor’s offices are going to close soon for the weekend anyway. My only other option: go to the emergency room and get hundreds of dollars into debt just for the privilege of peeing into a cup and getting a prescription. I assure you, copious amounts of tears and panic were involved just thinking about that.

Then it hit me: Planned Parenthood can totally help me with this!

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Posted in abortion, activism, badasses, body politics, government fuckery, healthcare fuckery, life, US news | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Asshole of the Day (Part Deux)

It’s been a great day for women, no?

Top tweet reads: HELP WANTED looking for a clean talented women who can use all 3 holes preferably no gagging no complaining. job pays well for more info. Bottom tweet reads: Good jobs are hard to come by now a days. I have great opportunity that just opened up interested?

[h/t @AnnaHolmes]

Posted in asshole of the day, exploitation, say what?, sexism, whatthefuckery | Tagged | Leave a comment

Asshole of the Day

Indiana Congressman Mike Pence, the man behind the House amendment to defund Planned Parenthood. The amendment passed 239-184.

I don’t have a transcript and I don’t have the stomach to type one out, but the gist is “Fuck women, poor people, and people of color.”

Meanwhile, the Pentagon’s budget for NASCAR funding remains unscathed. Nice to know where the priorities are.

These are Pence’s office numbers:

  • Washington D.C. Office – 202 225-3021
  • Anderson, IN Office – 765 640-2919
  • Richmond, IN Office – 765 962-2883
  • Muncie, IN Office – 765 747-5566

Take Action:

  • Sign the Planned Parenthood petition.
  • NYC: Attend the Planned Parenthood rally on February 26.
  • Participate in Fair and Feminist’s I Stand with Planned Parenthood blog carnival on Friday, 2/25/11. Sign up here.
  • Contact your senators. NOW has the info.
  • Walk for Choice. This is a list of all the participating cities holding walks/rallies on Saturday, February 26.

If you know of any other action items, leave them in the comments and I’ll add them to the list.

Posted in abortion, asshole of the day, body politics, government fuckery, healthcare fuckery, sexism, US news | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Quote of the Day

Courtesy of Kansas state Rep. Connie O’Brien.

At a recent Federal Affairs and State Affairs committee meeting, O’Brien described  how she spotted an undocumented immigrant at her son’s community college. When pressed on how she knew the woman was undocumented, O’Brien said:

Well, she wasn’t black, she wasn’t Asian and she had the olive complexion.

I’ll admit I kind of laughed that this one. Seriously, wtf?

O’Brien is currently advocating the repeal of a Kansas law that allows undocumented immigrants to pay in-state college tuition. Of course.

[via Franky Benítez]

Posted in immigration, say what? | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Giveaway: America Libre & House Divided

Win a copy of Raul Ramos y Sanchez’s two books, America Libre and House Divided, courtesy of Hachette Book Group!

As the events of House Divided unfolded, one thing immediately came to mind: this is precisely the kind of book that would give Arizona State School Superintendent Tom Horne a massive heart attack. And you know what? This in itself is a good reason to read the book.

Raul Ramos y Sanchez’s House Divided takes place in the not-too-distant future where Class H citizens–“those who were Hispanic, married to a Hispanic, or had at least one grandparent of Hispanic origin”–are forced to live in large Quarantine Zones around the United States. Rebels within the camps, led by “Mano” Suarez, try to fight for their freedom. Knowing the importance of public opinion, the Hispanic Republic of North America, as they call themselves, tries to stick to strategic attacks on the U.S. military. Meanwhile, an impatient extremist group called the Latino Liberation Front emerges in response to harsh government crackdowns, and Mano is horrified when his teenage son joins.

This is not the type of book I usually read (my attention usually strays at the first sign of military jargon), so I was surprised how quickly I became absorbed into the story; I could not put the book down. Ramos y Sanchez deftly handles the subject matter by writing about it from different points of view. The chapters are told from different perspectives, such as the rebels, the extremists, and various government officials. While the fight for human rights at the center of the plot, the subject of family bonds is also explored in detail.

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BBC show “Top Gear” on the characteristics of a Mexican sports car:

Tortillas, sombreros, laziness, sleeping against a fence…y’all are soooo witty.

Racism Review lists this contact info if you want to get your protest on:

By email/telephone or call 020 8433 3598

Or mail, Second Floor A, Energy Centre, Media Centre, 201 Wood Lane, W12 7TQ

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