LatinaLista — The violence along the U.S.-Mexico border is unprecedented, to say the least. To think that it will not cross the border into the United States as the Mexican attorney general believes is delusional thinking and disturbing since he refuses to acknowledge the fact that the violence is already here.
There may not be mass executions and beheadings in the United States yet but there is evidence that crimes with a distinct Mexican MO are being committed on this side of the border. Why else would Phoenix be crowned the kidnapping-for-ransom capital of the United States — second only to Mexico City?
Example of a rape tree along the U.S- Mexico border.
And there is further proof that the inhumane level of Mexican violence has infiltrated the U.S. border — rape trees!
This week, it was reported by the Cronkite News Service that the Arizona legislature heard from law enforcement officials that two counties in the state are seeing more and more “rape trees” — “places where Mexican drug cartel members rape female border crossers and hang their clothes.”
We can only imagine the trauma and terror that these women, whose only crime was that they wanted to come to work in the United States, must have felt not only during the assault but afterwards as well. Seeing that these rape trees were in Arizona, the probable assumption is that these migrant women were on their way deeper into Arizona on their journey’s elsewhere.
Yet, after having been subjected to such horrendous violations, they are forced to suffer silently.
It is gratifying to see that our new Attorney General, Eric Holder, is already aggressively combatting the cartel threat in this country by arresting suspected cartel members and seizing drug shipments but in the midst of all these proactive actions, it is not right for these women who have been raped in such a brutal manner to be afraid to come forward.
While the Justice Department may lodge a host of crimes against those captured — drug smuggling, human trafficking, weapon smuggling, kidnapping, etc — there is one more crime that is needed to be added to the list — rape.
Chances are the women who were raped know their rapists and they probably would come forward if they knew they wouldn’t be sent back to their home country.
Though popular opinion always seems to say that these women got what they asked for, the truth is that no woman asks to be raped.
The rape of a woman is more serious than smuggling drugs or weapons and as such needs to be included in any list of charges against a cartel member. The added charge of a rape also elevates the threat to society that person is and may have the potential for a longer and stiffer sentence in both the United States and Mexico or their country of origin.
For that reason, it’s time to craft a federal program that gets these women out of the shadows so they can tell their stories, identify their attackers and begin the healing process with the professional counseling that they need.
The long-term psychological damage of a brutal rape is a price no woman should have to pay to support her family — no matter what side of the border she’s on.