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NMSU criminal justice professor releases book on border violence

A New Mexico State University professor lent her talents as an editor as well as her expertise on the subject of feminicide to help produce a text on gender-based violence.


"Terrorizing Women: Feminicide in the Américas" is a series of compositions from activists, survivors and families affected by the violence across Latin America, and also from the academic, legal and political minds working to put an end to it. It was published last month.

"The book is really tailored to benefit students, scholars, researchers, legal scholars and attorneys and anyone interested in gender violence," said Cynthia Bejarano, assistant professor of criminal justice at NMSU. "It will be adopted by faculty teaching courses like women's studies, Latin American studies, border studies and criminal justice."

"Terrorizing Women: Feminicide in the Américas" charts the growing trend of murder and disappearance of women and girls in the Americas. Authors provide a critical lens for mapping feminicide and the patterns of violence within each society.

The authors consider strategies for confronting feminicide and propose a series of legal, political and social routes available for redressing injustices, and track alternative remedies that are generated by the communities affected by gender-based violence.

Bejarano serves as editor for the text alongside Rosa-Linda Fregoso whom she met at a feminicide conference at NMSU in 1999. Fregoso is a professor of Latin American and Latino studies at the University of California-Santa Cruz. Professor at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma Marcela Lagarde y De Los Rios wrote the preface for the book.

"We asked Marcela to write the preface to the book because she is credited as one of the lead Mexican feminists who really analyzed the term within a national scope and took the concept from theory to praxis in her role as a Federal Congresswoman in Mexico City," Bejarano said.
"Terrorizing Women" gathers the writings, insights, reflections and interventions of multiple actors in the struggle to end feminicide in the Américas. This multi-faceted approach works as an important feature for the book.

"My girl was thrown there, in that dry ditch, completely clothed. I never saw her body ... but I did recognize and identify her clothes. There was no doubt it was Paloma," writes one contributor, Norma Ledezma, mother of a murdered young woman. "I confronted the authorities. I yelled at them that it was their fault for not having searched for her, and that was why she was dead now."

Ledezma and other Chihuahua community members founded Justicia para Nuestras Hijas (Justice for Our Daughters) to confront government authorities and demand transparency in the investigation process. Ledezma's daughter Paloma has been dead for more than seven years and there are still no leads on her murderer.

"I hope that the book will be a point of dialogue for practitioners to use to continue to apply pressure and accountability from state governments and state actors and private citizens in charge of preserving human rights for everyone," Bejarano said.

Bejarano is also the principal investigator of CAMP, the College Assistance Migrant Program at NMSU. She has authored other works focusing on border culture and gender-based violence.