Almost 590 women were murdered in Guatemala between January and September this year, bringing the total femicides over the past nine years to 7,273.
An average of 62 women are murdered every month – equal to 15 per week – in Guatemala, according to a damning new report released by the National Institute of Forensics. The victims were either shot (373), asphyxiated (144), stabbed (63) or dismembered (8).
Yet during the same period, the Public Ministry recorded only 176 complaints of femicide and 84 of attempted femicide. To date, only 82 people have been convicted – all of them men.
The report, released on Tuesday, also revealed that authorities registered more than 1,000 cases of girls under the age of 14 who were left pregnant after being raped.
Norma Cruz, director of the Guatemalan NGO Survivors Foundation, said femicide is responsible for a huge number of orphaned children. The NGO is calling on citizens to mobilize on November 23, the day of the Elimination of Violence against Women, to help raise awareness of the issue.
Guatemala — along with its neighboring countries El Salvador, Honduras, and Mexico — is marred by one of the highest rates of femicide in the world.
Plagued by a legacy of brutal military violence, especially against indigenous women, Guatemala's female population is still struggling to achieve justice in a multitude of decades-old cases.
Latin America is one of the most dangerous places in the world for women, containing countries responsible for seven out of 10 of the highest femicide rates on the planet. High rates of impunity, coupled with broader issues of security and inequality, contribute to the normalization of violence against women throughout the region.
This year, according to a recent report, femicide rates across Latin America have actually been increasing.