Things That Matter

A Researcher Created A Map To Track All Of The Women That Are Murdered In Mexico

The violence against women in Mexico continues to rise to alarming rates. They are dying at the hands of domestic assailants as well as organized crime culprits. In 2018, 3,580 women and girls were killed in Mexico, the Associated Press reports. 

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is aiming to curtail this epidemic under his new administration by conducting thorough murder investigations, having a stronger judicial system to prosecute offenders and, among other initiatives, to search for women who are missing as soon as it’s reported.

“All of them have a common factor: the lack of timely and diligent intervention by the Mexican state to preserve their integrity and to ensure their lives,” Interior Secretary Olga Sanchez Cordero said, according to the AP.

Until the new government gets their act together, one woman is making sure the death of every woman in Mexico doesn’t go unnoticed. 

María Salguero, a geophysics scholar, and researcher, has created a mapping system to keep track of each woman that is murdered in Mexico. 

According to news reports, Salguero said that worldwide attention (or at least in the U.S. and in Mexico) surrounded the deaths of women that occurred only in Ciudad de Juarez. She said she wanted to not only track the deaths of women all over Mexico but also to have their names in a recorded document because it’s crucial to name them. 

She began tracking the femicide in her country in 2016 and initially began by getting Google alerts of violence against women. 

Since she first started the project, Salguero has obtained the records of “more than 6,000 cases of femicide dating back to 2011. In 27 cases, authorities were unable to establish the woman’s identity. In 70 cases, the victim was a trans woman,” Open Democracy states. 

Her tracking system is detailed and includes the victim’s name, where their body was found, and of course the city and state. 

This work is a labor of love for Salguero who works full-time at the National Search Commission of Mexico. She said she works on the mapping system on her off time and it takes up to five hours a day, depending on the workload. 

According to Salguero’s tracking system, the overwhelming majority of femicide is occurring in the state of Mexico.

Her report, which is also verified by state records, show that in 2018 400 women died in Mexico state, followed by Guanajuato, Baja California, Guerrero, and Jalisco. The state with the least murders is Yucatan. 

She also notes that the numbers provided by country officials may not be accurate and could be a lot higher than they are reporting. 

“Only a part of the problem is documented by the press and not all. There is a 15 percent national bias in the official data. There are women who arrive injured in health systems and die because of the seriousness of the injuries and are not reported by the press, women who are murdered or in their homes or communities far away and there was not a means to cover them,” she said. “The bodies which are found but the sex is undetermined, are cases that can not be documented.”

Women in Mexico don’t just live in fear of death, but they also endure day-to-day harassment.

According to a United Nations report, a survey showed that almost 90 percent of women experience sexual harassment and other forms of sexual violence in public spaces in Mexico City alone. These public places include subways, buses, and streets. 

Yeliz Osman, Safe Cities, and Safe Public Spaces Programme Coordinator at UN Women in Mexico said that the same harassment that women face in Mexico is the same in other parts of the world. “The overwhelming majority of women who participated in focus groups said that they experience some form of sexual harassment in their daily journeys. She adds, “These behaviors have been so normalized and naturalized within societies that women themselves don’t often consider it important enough to report and men don’t even realize in many cases that this is actually a form of violence and the impact that it has on women and girls.”

Click here to visit Salguero’s tracking system of femicides in Mexico.

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