Justicia para ellas
Protesters decry "feminicidios," women killed in gender-related violence in this screen shot from a recent documentary by VICE News, which charts the struggle of families to get justice for murdered daughters in the State of Mexico. Some interviewed in the documentary say that deaths of women are increasing there. VICE News / YouTube

VICE News released the third instalment of a documentary series entitled “The Murdered Women of the State of Mexico,” a visceral snapshot of the gender-based violence occurring across the country. The three-part series is now available as one longer piece, centered on the areas surrounding Mexico City. The scope of the violence and the weakness of available data make that apparent pandemic of violence against women difficult to measure. In fact, the rate of female deaths (femicides) in the State of Mexico is going down, according to statistics cited by VICE News.

None the less, human rights advocates say that the number of women who are killed because of their gender (referred to as feminicidios in the film) is exorbitantly high, and possibly rising. Attention to the problem of female death has led to the creation of severe punishments on the books for what are essentiall gender hate crimes. But it’s set of laws to enforce in a country like Mexico, where less than 5 percent of murders are solved, perpetrators of violence against women enjoy the same impunity as narco gangs and corrupt police. The VICE News piece argues that many of these cases would be simple to solve. They follow the case of a woman allegedly murdered by her husband, whose suspicious death was labeled a suicide. Each death leaves many victims, family members burdened with the weight of loss and a burning for justice.

"Everyday you hear that a girl's body was found nearby, that another was kidnapped," Roberto Mora, whose Daughter Valeria went missing in December, tells VICE News in the documentary. "You hear it and you hear it, and it just passes as if nothing. … Today people talk about it and tomorrow everyone forgets."

The full documentary, available below, will pull at your heart strings in the gonzo style you’d expect from VICE News. It documents the deplorable state of forensics labs that could help solve crimes, the callousness of local prosecutors and the desperation of victims’ families. Some of the statistics used in the documentary need to be take with a grain of salt. For example, raw numbers are often used in the place of ratios, giving a skewed comparison between Mexican states and cities. Also, men are murdered at almost ten times the rate that women are in Mexico, also in grisly ways. However, more detailed research is available supplementary article, “Murdered in Mexico State: The Silent Epidemic of Women Killings in Mexico.”

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