Between 1993 and 2003, more than 370 girls and women were murdered and their often-mutilated bodies dumped outside Ciudad Juárez in Chihuahua, Mexico. The murders have continued at a rate of approximately thirty per year, yet law enforcement officials have made no breakthroughs in finding the perpetrator(s). Drawing on in-depth surveys, workshops, and interviews of Juárez women and border activists, Violence and Activism at the Border provides crucial links between these disturbing crimes and a broader history of violence against women in Mexico. In addition, the ways in which local feminist activists used the Juárez murders to create international publicity and expose police impunity provides a unique case study of social movements in the borderlands, especially as statistics reveal that the rates of femicide in Juárez are actually similar to other regions of Mexico.
Also examining how non-governmental organizations have responded in the face of Mexican law enforcement's "normalization" of domestic violence, Staudt's study is a landmark development in the realm of global human rights.
"In this sensitive book about border violence, Staudt provides illuminating answers to perplexing questions long asked by people around the world about recent grotesque crimes against women in the notorious city of Ciudad Juárez. Staudt skillfully examines the femicide phenomenon and proceeds to investigate everyday domestic violence, grounding her findings in direct fieldwork and wide-ranging multi-disciplinary and theoretical research. Spotlighting the frustrated efforts of public and private institutions to address the problem, Staudt eloquently points out the urgent need for greater gender justice on the border."
Oscar J. Martínez, Regents' Professor of History, University of Arizona
"In her splendid book, Kathleen Staudt shows why paying close and nuanced attention to violence and organizing against it reveals so much about both gritty urban politics and sprawling globalization. This book deserves a wide readership across disciplinary borders."
Cynthia Enloe, author of Globalization and Militarism: Feminists Make the Link
"This accessible book exposes the complexity of the murder of women in Ciudad Juárez. Avoiding easy explanations, Staudt presents a nuanced analysis of the different factors that contributed to such a level of violence against women. Her perceptive analysis illuminates how political drama is central to understanding both, how the Mexican institutions have reacted to the murders, and how activists mobilized to obtain an institutional response to stop violence against women."
Pablo Vila, Professor of Sociology and Director of Graduate Studies, Temple University