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What Guarantees Do We Have?” Legal Tolls and Persistent Impunity for Feminicide in Guatemala

Author(s): Shannon Walsh, Cecilia Menjívar

In: Latin America Politics and Society, Vol 58, No 4, 2016, pp. 31-55

Despite laws intended to protect women, Guatemala has one of the highest levels of killings of women and impunity for violence against women in the world. This article examines obstacles in the justice system to processing cases of feminicide comparing two cases. It argues that the sociopolitical context of structural violence, widespread poverty, inequality, corruption, and normalization of gender violence against women, generates penalties, or “legal tolls” on victims' families. These tolls of fear and time (the need to overcome fear of retaliation and the extraordinary time and effort it takes to do so in a corrupt and broken system) undermine efforts by victims to find a way through the justice system.

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