Leslie Carol Botha: Girls and daughters kidnapped in Mexico – disappear into the night while lawyers collect fees to represent parents due to a negligent judicial system…
Search for Missing Daughters in Mexico Drives Families into Ruin*
IPS Inter Press Service
By Gladis Torres Ruiz
MEXICO CITY, Nov 19 2012 (CIMAC) – The families of thousands of girls and women who have disappeared in Mexico are spending everything they have in the search for their daughters – and for justice.
The families, who are mostly poor, face not only the steep legal costs involved, but also the negligence of justice system officials in Mexico when it comes to solving disappearances and murders of women.
The costs include the fees of lawyers and outside experts, appeals procedures, and travel expenses involved in the search for their daughters and the numerous visits to courtrooms or prosecutors’ offices.
To cap it all, some victims’ mothers have to pay for the meals and cell-phone bills of the judicial agents assigned to their case.
The outlay adds up to an average of 23,000 dollars per family – although the total can be higher depending on the complexity of the case and the length of the investigation, human rights defenders say.
The monetary cost of justice for women victims of violence “is very high and is invisible,” said lawyer Irma Villanueva, coordinator of the legal department of the Centre for Women’s Human Rights (CEDEHM) in the northern state of Chihuahua.
“No one talks, either, about the loss of employment, the expenses of food and transport, the mothers’ lack of care for their other children and grandchildren, as well as their physical and emotional exhaustion. All this remains unacknowledged,” said Villanueva.
The panorama is repeated virtually all over the country, where the disappearance of women, femicides (gender-related murders) and impunity are routine.
The National Citizen Observatory on Femicides (OCNF) reported that from January 2010 to June 2011, 1,235 women were killed in Mexico for gender-related reasons.
Between 2005 and 2011, in the state of Mexico, adjacent to the capital city and notorious for violence against women, the OCNF recorded 922 victims of femicide.