Advocates call for ‘change in culture’ after rape-slaying of 13-year-old girl

Border Report

Juarez again forced to deal with rash of women’s slayings

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – The rape-slaying of a 13-year-old girl whose body was abandoned in a landfill shows Juarez is still not doing enough to protect its women, Mexican activists say.

The girl was killed through asphyxia after leaving her home in the Panfilo Natera subdivision of Juarez on Sept. 29. Three boys ages 15, 16, and 17 were charged with her murder this week.

“This is sickening,” said Yadira Cortes, of the women’s group Red Mesa de Mujeres. “We need to change the culture, teach our (boys) to see women as human beings, not as objects or, in some cases, as merchandise.”

According to the Chihuahua state police, a total of 146 women have been murdered in Juarez this year, most of whom were killed because they allegedly were involved in the drug trade. But the rest were victims of domestic violence or, as was the case with the 13-year-old girl, violent sexual assaults.

A state police spokesman said two of the boys have previously been detained on drug charges. They allegedly told investigators they attacked the girl after an argument, wrapped her body in a blanket and dumped it in a clandestine landfill.

“How can you be so cold-blooded so as to do that?” asked Cortes. “They raped, killed and disposed of a 13-year-old girl in a landfill, exposing her body to wild animals. We need to end impunity, so people know there are consequences for hurting a woman. We need to educate the public and that falls on the authorities.”

Cortes also called for a more stable work environment in Juarez police forces. She noted that every time a new political administration comes in, experienced investigators get shuffled around or are let go.

“All that training, all that experience is gone. New (investigators) need to be trained, need to be brought up to date on cases and it adds up to lost time. Progress (in murdered women’s investigations) stalls and the cases aren’t solved,” she said.

The group is also calling on Juarez authorities to be more open with the community regarding the dangers women face in that city.

“Tell us where the danger is, what places, what neighborhoods (are unsafe). We don’t have that information,” Cortes said.

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