Femicide as a Symptom

Photo: La Cadera De Eva

by Hermann Bellinghausen

So many women murdered. What is going on? Where does this criminal impulse to choose the imminent femicide, whether directed at women by chance or for personal reasons, come from? We can allow ourselves to call the phenomenon an epidemic. Could it be a contagious disease? Various explanations have been offered for this crime wave that assaults Mexico. Most of them, while certainly useful, offer only partial answers. Economic and sexual frustration of men. The irritation or fear provoked by free or foreign women. The loss of community, familial, or romantic values. The use and abuse of substances to disarm the female. Conjugal violence normalized in so many homes, at the crux of so many couples.

Also what children learn from their elders. What they don’t learn: ethical orphanhood is the true epidemic. The difference between good and bad, respect for the lives of others, affectionate feelings toward others has been erased from the minds of countless men. There are those who blame pornography, frequently brutal and undignified, accessible to any teenager, worker, transportation worker, policeman, unemployed person, professional. Even video games have been blamed.

The imprint of perpetual patriarchy is just now being questioned seriously, mainly by those who we might call new women, steeped in feminism, or imbued with it. We shuffle the psychological, sociological, demographic, religious, legal and political interpretations. They do not mitigate our shock or horror.

All of this carries some truth, be it a lot or a little. But in the end the answer as to why men easily kill women is very simple: they do it because they can. 

Each story is a world of its own, each case unique if we consider it from the point of view of the murdered woman and her emotional environment. But from the male point of view, the story is anodyne and the same: an unscrupulous male, often coldly and calculatingly, organizes the murder of the victim, perhaps his current or former or impossible partner. These are then stories that sell well,  morally or morbidly tinged, in newsreels, newspapers, movies and television series.

There are the impulsive assaults, the over-the-top assaults. They are the same. We should also consider the femicides of unknown women, whom the perpetrator follows and assaults. The inconceivably high frequency with which sexual violations are perpetrated usually precedes the sacrifice of the outraged women on the altar of the virile member and the exercise of power. Yes, things are literally out of control.

The great essayist, Sergio Gonzálex Rodríguez was obsessed with the cotton field and other Juarez scenes from the end of the last century. His intelligent inquiries almost cost him his life. Bones in the desert, women without names, sneakers half-buried, skeletons with socks. Two decades ago, Noam Chomsky spoke of Ciudad Juarez as a laboratory of the future. And so he said. Look at where we are today. 

An invisible web-like network enables the impunity of the woman-killer, made up of police agents and commanders, judges, prosecutors, cronies, bodyguards, and chauffeurs. Femicide is a specific crime, different than the indiscriminate and gratuitous deaths from the on-going violence, executions between rivals or against the disobedient, the busybodies, or the ones that disrupt business. 

Counter to the stupid inertias of the patriarchy that owns the laws, it is now considered a statutory offense. But things don’t get better. On the contrary. We see more femicides, and they are more cold and vulgar. Impunity is a cynical guarantee of the atrocity of the patriarchal pact. A summit of contempt. Sexism, racism, generic hate, pedophilia: the superiority of the miserable heart, the sterility of the strong, of the predator without boundaries or education.

We could talk about dehumanization if it weren’t a behaviour that was exclusively human. Animals don’t kill their females. Human, too human? Masculine, too masculine? Cowardly, certainly, for all the balls they put into their exploits. We are facing a psychopathy that is not due to a mutilated or defective mind, like clinical psychopathy, but that is generated from what they learn, the normal brains of aggressors of women, and in the extreme, femicides.  

This article was published on November 14th, 2022. https://www.jornada.com.mx/2022/11/14/opinion/a09a1cul English translation by Schools for Chiapas.

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