Tijuana Report On the Edge: Juarez FemicidesSan Diego 30 Jul 2006 23:08 GMT
Lourdes Diaz, Director of Tijuana’s Women’s Municipal Institute gave the introduction. After the film about 80% of the audience stayed for over an hour of discussion with Steev Hise and Mrs. Sara Ruiz, moderated by Carmen Valadez of the Feminist Binational Collective.
Mrs. Ruiz’s daughter Sarita was abducted, assaulted and thrown from a moving car last December on to the streets of Tijuana by Pueblo Amigo, about four blocks away from the San Ysidro Port of Entry. She died six days later. Her mother has fought courageously for there to be an investigation and prosecution in the face of a weak and mixed official response, including accusations that her daughter must have been engaging in risky behaviors. Mrs. Ruiz described she is certain her 15-year old daughter, who was an excellent student and daughter kept a healthy lifestyle and was going about her normal family and school routine that day; this has reinforced Mrs. Ruiz’ moral stamina to not let Sarita’s case be lost in cover-ups, ineptitude or apathy. Mrs. Ruiz carried out a 9-day hunger strike in June and says many mothers whose daughters have been victimized are afraid to speak out and have asked her to carry on for them also.
Among the comments from the audience were that citizen complaints are not taken seriously. Another theme was gender relations. One man said it has been a difficult but positive process for him to understand how to give his wife the space and respect she merits, and that all men must become aware of any abusive behaviors, which however subtle are damaging and have social consequences. Other comments were regarding women’s responsibility in not putting up with derogatory behaviors, such as celebrating abusive comments that men make about other women, as well as the responsibility of both parents for bringing up the men of the future to be respectful and the girls to know what their rights are, all from a very early age. There was a comment about how femicides are an extra layer of brutality inflicted upon women, yet the common root affecting the entire society is the prevalent climate of economic exploitation.
Steev Hise was applauded for his interest in going to Mexico and addressing this Mexican problem. Steev mentioned 2 Mexican filmmakers have also produced documentaries, and that the players in this tragedy reside on both sides of the border, a great majority of maquiladoras being US concerns. Hise added that corruption, while not as evident is nonetheless widespread and deep in the US. To a comment that laws should be passed to protect women, such as escorted transportation all the way home, Steev commented that NAFTA’s Chapter 11 trumps the enforcement of any local laws that could hinder transnational corporate profits. He was also asked what he thinks the role of artists is in raising awareness of issues such as the Juarez Femicides, to which he said that artists have a significant role in sensitizing people.
One man commented there should be laws whereby women only work daylight shifts, to which Carmen Valadez of the Feminist Binational Collective answered we must demand what women and all citizens deserve: Safe cities 24 hours a day.
Majority awareness and actions are needed to halt and stop the spread of out-of-control atrocities. As evidenced by the reception of the screenings in San Diego and Tijuana this last week, On the Edge is an important step in this direction.