By Noelia Veras
Catholic University held a screening of the film “Las Desaparecidas,” and a discussion with the lead actress, Patricia Meneses on November 5. The short film took place in Mexico and discussed the ongoing issue of mass murders of females, known as “femicide”. The film discussed the rampant corruption in Mexico, and the role of police in acts of violence towards women.
After the film ended, there were audible gasps and many people hurriedly wiped away tears. With such a heavy topic, this film did not hold back in sharing the gruesome details involved in the misogynistic culture found in Mexico. From men interrupting women and silencing them in small ways, to actually raping and killing them, “Las Desaparecidas” covered a myriad of topics which plague women in Mexico and all around the world.
Meneses shared her thoughts on the misogyny in Mexico and answered questions from students. Meneses explained how she actually found this role via Facebook and instantly loved the message behind it. She met up with the director, Astrid Domínguez, and filmed the entire short-film in only seven days.
For Menseses this film was extremely important, as she knows many people whose daughters have been victims of femicide. Femicide is not technically a word in English, but in Spanish it is not only a word, it is a commonly used word. Femicide, in of itself, is wildly frequent. For instance, the film discussed how every eighteen seconds in Mexico a woman is raped, every four hours a woman disappears, and every day seven women are killed in a violent manner.
There is an attitude so sickly masculine in Mexico that it impedes endangers the lives of all women. Meneses said that to live in Mexico as a woman one must be smart and careful; all women must know how to dress, act, and speak in public to avoid risking their lives.
Although it is clear that Mexico has a problem with masculine aggression, the government has been slow to act. Many cases, including the one discussed in this film, are actually covered up and even encouraged by the government and law enforcement. The current administration in Mexico is not at all concerned with the rights and well-being of women, and even encourages the silencing of women.
While the current administration is ignorant to the struggles of women, a new president has been elected that is more concerned with women’s rights and has a more humanitarian approach to government. Meneses cited this as one of many reasons to keep hope alive for the females in Mexico.
Meneses also emphasized the need for interference, not just by the government, but also from civilians. This is not a political issue or an economic issue, according to her it is a human issue.
Finally, Meneses urged everyone in the room to stand up for females, not only in Mexico, but women everywhere. She encouraged every woman and man to be an advocate for everyone’s rights, and to try to understand just how women are suffering daily, regardless of how small the oppression may seem. Ultimately, Meneses stressed, there is hope even in the darkest of times, regardless of the pessimism society often dwells on. Meneses ended on a hopeful note, stressing that there is hope even in the darkest of times, regardless of society’s pessimistic attitude.