In the past decade, over 400 women and girls have been killed or disappeared in Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas. Many of the victims were raped, mutilated and tortured. One of the victims was a six-year-old girl. Despite the fact that these murders have persisted over the past decade, there has not been significant progress in providing protection to the women of Juarez or in bringing the perpetrators to justice.
The situation is dire for women in Juarez who already struggle under great adversity working in globalized factories—mainly American owned and with exports to the U.S.—for as little as $4 a day. They are bused to distant places where they live in desperate living situations. Not only do they live with poor wages in poor conditions, but their security is compromised as well.
V-Day In Juarez
Through the Mexico City production of “The Vagina Monologues,” direct support to Casa Amiga and other grassroots groups, and the efforts of thousands of activists, V-Day has been working throughout Mexico and internationally to raise awareness about the missing and murdered women of Juarez for over five years. In February 2003, V-Day Founder Eve Ensler met with the Special Prosecutor in Juarez demanding justice for the women and vowing to return with the world one year later if action was not evident. For V-Day 2004, Juarez was our Spotlight issue placing the issue in front of millions in the U.S. and internationally through the over 2300 V-Day benefits that took place in February – March. V-Day, with support from Amnesty International, brought the world to Juarez in the form of a the V-Day International March on Juarez – over 7500 people including women from over 20 countries – marched on Juarez on February 14, 2004. While there have been victories in terms of awareness and discussions, the struggle is not over as more bodies have recently been found and the murders remain unsolved.
V-Day 2004: Spotlight on Missing & Murdered Women In Juarez
The V-Day 2004 Spotlight was the Missing & Murdered Women of Juarez, Mexico. This V-Day Spotlight brought the issues facing the women of Juarez to over 2300 local V-Day events around the world, asking all people to stand with Mexican women in their struggle to be free of violence. The program also encouraged event organizers to contribute 10% of their benefit proceeds to support the women of Juarez raising over $175,000 for local groups working in Juarez with the families of the murdered women and those that provide direct services.
In 2004, V-Day partnered with Amnesty International, other women’s groups, international labor organizations (including the AFL-CIO), and many high profile women and men in Mexico and around the world to increase the pressure to put an end to these killings. Together with the many volunteer V-Day activists around the world, we supported Amnesty in their ongoing letter writing campaigns and Juarez report (released August 2003), continued our support of Casa Amiga and other groups working to end this violence, and participated in the UCLA conference on Juarez in late October 2003.
“The City of Murdered Women,” V-Day Founder/Playwright Eve Ensler’s essay on the missing and murdered women of Ciudad Juarez, appeared in the March issue of Marie Claire magazine. Working closely with Amnesty International, V-Day placed stories on the issue in PEOPLE, the Los Angeles Times, CosmoGIRL and more.
On February 13, 2004 a V-Day delegation including Congresswomen Jan Schakowsky (IL) and Hilda Solis (CA), Jane Fonda, Sally Field, Christine Lahti, Lifetime Television CEO Carole Black, PBS CEO Pat Mitchell, Lifetime EVP of Public Affairs Meredith Wagner, met with mothers and daughters who have been murdered or are missing. Immediately following, the American Consulate hosted a reception welcoming the V-Day community to Juarez to support our efforts to raise awareness and to end the violence against women in Juarez. The newly appointed special prosecutors met with Eve and members for the delegation to discuss changes and progress – or the lack of – in these cases.
The V-Day March on Juarez to honor the missing and murdered women of Juarez, their families, and the grassroots groups took place on V-Day, February 14. Over 7,500 people traveled to Juarez – thousands crossing the bridge from neighboring El Paso, Texas – to stand up for the women of Juarez. Following the march, four thousand people gathered for a community luncheon and the first performance of “The Vagina Monologues” in Juarez by a bilingual cast featuring Mexican actresses Lilia Aragon, Marinitia Escobedo, Laura Flores, and Monica Alicia Juarez, with Jane Fonda, Sally Field, and Christine Lahti.
The march and the performance gained international media coverage, saturating the U.S., U.K., Mexico and Latin American via CNN, Univision, Telemundo, local ABC, CBS, NBC stations, Agence France Presse, the Associated Press, BBC, The Guardian, the Sunday Times and more.
VICTORY! On March 8 V-Day was notified by a local community organization in Juarez that as a result of the March on Juarez the Chihuahua State’s Attorney had resigned.