Women Slaughtered in Guatemala
By Samra Amir

August 2006
This is for the children without mothers, brothers without sisters, and parents without daughters. This is for the 655 women raped and murdered in Guatemala in 2005.
As a country just south of the Mexican border, the Republic of Guatemala is struck by problems of poverty and crime. However, what sets it apart from the other third-world countries is its sky-high murder rate, whose cause can been blamed on the country’s culture and attitude toward women. ‘It is the fashion in this country, in this day and age, to kill women.’ This is a quote from one of the interviews from Giselle Portenier’s film Killer’s Paradise, which made its North American debut here in Toronto on March 8, 2007.
The film sheds light on the ravaged state of women in Guatemala, and the insignificance it is regarded as by the government. Of the 655 women raped and murdered in 2005, not a single one of the tormentors were persecuted. The police and other authorities refuse to give this calamity the attention it requires, as they make excuses not to investigate, or even to take DNA samples from the crime scene.
Of the 1 188 women and girls that were murdered from 2001 to 2004, many of the victims were brutally beaten before being killed. The rape that takes place in most of these attacks is seldom mentioned in the official records. To this day, the Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office says that only 9% of the cases have been investigated. If such a low percentage is investigated, how small is the percentage that is solved?
This complete and utter disregard for proper investigations sends the message that it is acceptable to subject women in Guatemala to this kind of hatred. Without authority doing anything to help the situation, the women of the Republic of Guatemala are as good as alone, in a world driven by male chauvinists.
Guatemala City, the night of 15th of December, 200l, 15-year old Maria Isabel was kidnapped. Her body was not found until after Christmas, and it was barely recognizable. Her body showed evidence of rape, and her hands and feet showed marks of being tied with barbed wire. Maria’s young face had been mutilated by punches from her attackers. Alongside the marks of rape, her body was punctured with small holes and stab wounds. As if to put her out of her misery, Maria’s attackers strangled her using a rope, but only after bending back the nails on her hands. After breaking her body’s spirit, as well as simply breaking her body, Maria’s attackers stuffed her shattered corpse into a bag, where she lay until she was found. It is natural to think that the police would have done anything possible to catch the killer, but this is not like the place that we are blessed to live in. Although an investigation had started, those responsible for Maria Isabel’s murder are still at large.
May God have mercy on those who need it, and wrath on those who provoke it.


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