Next month, the M.I.T. Press will release The Femicide Machine by Sergio González Rodríguez. Rodriguez is a social thinker and a passionate columnist for Reforma, a Mexican newspaper. He has been investigating the rapes and deaths of hundreds of women and girls in Mexico’s Ciudad Juarez. In the process he has uncovered a tangled web of police, government officials, and violent drug traffickers. What follows is an excerpt from an interview he recently participated in with BookForum.
From Sergio González Rodríguez’s The Femicide Machine (Semiotext(e) 2012)
The phenomenon of female homicides in Ciudad Juárez began to be denounced in 1993. There is evidence these crimes began years before.
Why were they murdered?
For the pleasure of killing women who were poor and defenseless.
How many victims have there been?
Of the 400 women and girls killed for various reasons from 1993 to the present, at least 100 murders were commited in tandem with extreme sexual violence. The lack of reliable information from the authorities is part of the problem.
Who killed them?
Drug traffickers, complicit with individuals who enjoy political and economic power.
Where and how did the events take place?
The victims were abducted from the streets of Ciudad Juárez and taken by force into safe houses where they were raped, tortured, and murdered at stag parties or orgies.
The victims’ bodies were dumped into the desert like garbage, tossed onto streets, on corners and vacant lots in the city’s urban and suburban zones, and in the outskirts of the city. In many cases the victims’ clothes and identification cards were interchanged in a kind of perverse game. Authorities refused to investigate the cases in depth. These events imply a misogynistic furor that escalated from an isolated crime to a collective ravaging; especially in terms of the “copycat effect,” in which imitators stalk victims and replicate the femicide machine’s efficiency. Impunity is the murderers’ greatest stimulant.