Precursors to Femicide: Guatemalan Women in a Vortex of Violence

Authored by: David Carey Jr., M. Gabriela Torres

Categories: Humanitarian Emergencies, Violent Conflict
Sub-Categories: Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV)
Country: Guatemala
Region: Latin America and the Caribbean
Year: 2010
Citation: Carey Jr., David and M. Gabriela Torres. "Precursors to Femicide: Guatemalan Women in a Vortex of Violence." Latin American Research Review 45, no. 3 (2010): 142-164.

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Today women in Guatemala are killed at nearly the same rate as they were in the early 1980s when the civil war became genocidal. Yet the current femicide epidemic is less an aberration than a reflection of the way violence against women has become normalized in Guatemala. Used to re-inscribe patriarchy and sustain both dictatorships and democracies, gender-based violence morphed into femicide when peacetime governments became too weak to control extralegal and paramilitary powers. The naturalization of gender-based violence over the course of the twentieth century maintained and promoted the systemic impunity that undergirds femicide today. By accounting for the gendered and historical dimensions of the cultural practices of violence and impunity, we offer a re-conceptualization of the social relations that perpetuate femicide as an expression of post-war violence.