For the past two decades, Cuidad Juarez has become a site of sexual and gendered violence against women. Femicides continue to increase at a rampant pace. Women in Juarez are also kidnapped, while some bodies have been found others continue to be disappeared. There is not one single culprit responsible for all of these murders and kidnappings. Even though this issue has received international press coverage, investigations continue to be ineffective or nonexistent. Often times, investigators victim blame these women. They question their occupation, assuming they are sex workers. Also, they question their type of dress and wonder if that had to do with their fate. Both of these derail their attempts to find the person(s) responsible for claiming the lives of thousands of women.
Cuidad Juarez is a border town in Mexico that lies on the Rio Bravo south of El Paso, Texas. Cuidad Juarez alone has an estimated population of 1.5 million folks but with El Paso they comprise the second largest bi-national metropolitan area on the Mexico-US border. Because of its location, I plan to employ a transnational lense while exploring this topic. I plan to focus on how these women are constructed through discourses within Mexico and the United States. I want to specifically take a careful look at how these constructions might alter investigations of the Murders?
Some [tentative] research questions:
How are these women constructed in the US and Mexico? How do they differ or compare?
Do the slow/nonexistent investigations of the femicides/disappearances reflect something larger? Does this reflect what bodies are valued and disposable?
Do the theories that these women were sexual workers cloud the investigators desire to complete a thorough investigation?
Is this considered an issue that affects both the US and Mexico? Or is it constructed as solely an issue affecting Mexico?
Victims of the brutalization and murder of women in Ciudad Juarez are often blamed for their “misfortunes,” which helps justify the discourses rendering border women as dispensible. This construction of disposable women contributes to Mexico’s refusal to provide these women even the most minimal protection.