Reflections on the search

One more and another… and five more that appeared “by chance” while the authorities were “trying to locate” Debanhi. The mutilated bodies of the victims of femicide that appear daily in the State of Mexico, Veracruz, Hidalgo, Monterrey or in any city or town in the country, are witnesses of an impunity that neutralizes clamor and denunciations.

Is there no march or shout that is enough to stop the inertia of death that is destroying our hopes? How long will it stop? And the worst: what is the future of a nation that neglects its women to the point of not guaranteeing their mobility and a safe life?

These issues arise the same in an academic dissertation as in conversations between friends or between young men, reticent to the machismo of their predecessors. Also in the lament of the families of the victims.

How does a country manage to have more than eleven women dead in one day? Should we stop going to parties, work, university and primary school to stay alive? my daughter, now of legal age, attacked in a close and painful conversation. The talk took place just when we learned of the discovery of the young woman’s body at the bottom of a cistern, in the middle of a lonely highway in Nuevo León. The questions and the harshness of the news tasted like gall to me; I had never experienced a similar helplessness, it was dramatic for me to accept the end of the safe world in which I grew up.

I pondered the answer for a little over twenty-four hours to conclude that Mexico suffers from a heartbreaking condition: that of contempt for human life and, therefore, for the integrity and life of women.

Perhaps the data just exposed will help us to understand and explain femicide as one more facet of the neglect that has given rise to impunity and that has become a flagrant absence of the rule of law that, according to the Secretary General of the UN, is defines as “a principle of governance in which all persons, institutions and entities, public and private, including the State itself, are subject to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced and applied independently, in addition to being consistent with international human rights standards and principles […]».

History confirms that the disappearance of the Rule of Law harms the weakest and propitiates the backwardness of nations. It is for this reason that we Mexicans of the 21st century are opposed to going back to the times when our place was woven into invisibility, insofar as a significant part of our quest is to express ourselves with equity and justice -and this includes working, writing , govern, direct, educate, create and everything that is inserted in the universal task. In this sense, it is urgent that women who already have access to any type of power -which are several-, answer for their equals.

The struggle for suffrage at the end of the 19th century and the achievements that determined the feminist constructions of the 20th freed us from physical and intellectual confinement, leading us to question stagnant statutes such as honor and family.

The curious thing is that the changes, no matter how dramatic they have been and manage to be, do not relieve us of the role of mothers, but quite the opposite: they maximize it in an environment of productivity and, in many cases, independence. Is that what causes so much anger?

It is very possible that the impatience and hatred that fuel crime obey the overwhelming possibility of female success. The unfortunate thing about this scenario is the rapidity of its progress. In 2015, there were between 6 and 7 victims of femicide every day. In 2022 the number of deaths has increased in fatal proportions: currently there are more than 11.3 a day, daughters, granddaughters, nieces, mothers, grandmothers, aunts and cousins ​​who die murdered for the mere fact of being women. And that Mexico is not at war.

In this context as terrifying as it is unworthy, the inconsistencies will continue to keep us awake at night:

Why should the existence of women be dismissed, if they are the ones who give life and keep standing the concept of the traditional family, located in the first place of the podium of duty to be macho?

The question will remain open until Mexico becomes a nation free of femicide. Not one more.

Linda Atach Zaga

art historian

Linda Atach Zaga is a Mexican art historian, artist, and curator. Since 2010 she has been the director of the Temporary Exhibitions Department of the Memory and Tolerance Museum in Mexico City.

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