Ciudad Juarez

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From above, it looks like a city in a valley between two dry mountain ranges, a city all-alone in the desert. But if you look closely, you can see where a river runs along the bottom of the valley, cutting the city in half. On the northern side is El Paso, Texas, and to the south is Ciudad Juarez, in the Chihuahua state of Mexico. Two cities, two countries, with a combined population of 2.5 million people; it's the largest border community on the planet. Americans pay just 25 cents to walk over the bridge crossing the Rio Grande into Mexico. Writer Charles Bowden calls it an "ecotone" — a concept borrowed from the science of ecology, meaning a place where two habitats meet (Bowden 3). To the south is a Third World nation and to the north is the greatest industrial power on the planet. At the El Paso-Ciudad Juarez border, both worlds meet in a gritty, sometimes violent, collision. There has been an epidemic of dumped, tortured, raped and burned bodies in the Ciudad Juarez. According to Valerie Martinez, author of Each and Her, “over 450 girls and women have been murdered in or near the cities of Juarez and Chihuahua, Mexico, along the U.S. –Mexico border since 1993. Some were students; many were workers in the maquiladoras” (Martinez 1). For the past 18 years in Ciudad Juarez, women and girls have been targeted based on their gender and acts of violence have been committed towards them with no clear motive other than gender discrimination. Gender crimes are incidents of violence targeting women exclusively, not because the victims are a particular religion or race, but because they are women. Gender based violence against women has a long, tragic history. Social conflict and societal change have been and continue to be waged on many fronts, particularly through violent acts against women’s bodies. Such violence has taken the form of sexual torture, rape, disappearances and murder (Pineda-Madrid 3). The reason for these brutalities is unclear but the damage...
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