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Yadira Cortés Castillo, a psychosocial support provider within the Red Mesa de Mujeres association, is a voice in the fight against violence towards women, especially femicides. Ciudad Juarez, a border city marked by extreme violence, is home to over one and a half million inhabitants in the state of Chihuahua, northern Mexico. It has sadly become infamous for numerous femicides and disappearances of women since 1993. This territory, now a stage for systemic violence, is a national and international symbol of the consequences of impunity and patriarchy. For 30 years, families in Ciudad Juarez have been fighting for justice, reparations, and the retrieval and protection of the bodies of their daughters, mothers, and sisters.

Ciudad Juarez: alarming figures

The fight against femicides in Ciudad Juarez gained momentum with the discovery of the mutilated bodies of 8 young women in 2001, part of a long series of female homicides in the region. This gave rise to the term “feminicidio” within the women’s rights movements in Ciudad Juarez. From 2010 to the end of 2022, Red Mesa de Mujeres in Ciudad Juarez recorded 1694 women killed in the city. To these tragedies are added the disappearances of girls, teenagers, and women whose bodies have never been located.

In Mexico, ten women are killed every day. Ciudad Juarez remains the deadliest region. In 2020, the Attorney General of Mexico expressed alarm at a 137% increase in femicides over the last five years, a rate four times higher than the growth in homicides.

Yadira Cortés Castillo at the 19th ”Femmes du Monde in Seine-Saint-Denis”

The 19th “Femmes du Monde in Seine-Saint-Denis” meeting, under the theme “Femicides, Not One More” raised awareness among the 700 participants about the courage of women fighting against impunity, despite the risks to their lives. Yadira Cortés Castillo’s presence was a significant moment of international solidarity.

Yadira Cortés, survivor of vicarious violence, granddaughter of a femicide survivor, daughter of a femicide survivor, sister of an infanticide victim. I am a rainbow woman, conceived after the murder of my 4-year-old sister, 'Ivonne.
Yadira Cortes Castillo Psychosocial support provider within the Red Mesa de Mujeres association
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Yadira offered a flower made by her mother and women victims of her association, symbolizing the slain women.

She also emphasized the importance of tracking statistics on crimes against women and advocated for strong public policies to protect women victims of violence.

"We are dedicated to compiling statistics on crimes against women and promoting public policies to protect women. In November 2023, after three years of work, the first specialized court in violence against women opened its doors in Ciudad Juarez."
Yadira Cortes Castillo Psychosocial support provider within the Red Mesa de Mujeres association
Meeting with local actors in Seine-Saint-Denis involved in the fight against violence towards women

During these local meetings, Yadira highlighted the crucial role of Red Mesa de Mujeres in raising awareness, preventing, and supporting victims of sexist and sexual violence in this northern region of Mexico. The association positions itself as a driving force in denouncing the impunity surrounding crimes against women in Ciudad Juarez. Their strategic approach relies, in particular, on the impactful use of public space. By amplifying the voices of women, they expose the extent of the problem and point to the unquestionable responsibility of local and national governments in these crimes.

Useful documents and links

Yadira's Actions: An Insightful Video of Her Association's Initiatives To find out more about Yadira's work, here is a video about the actions undertaken by her association.
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