*please be aware that the following may trigger survivors of assault.*
I write this email to bring attention to the assault and murder of a woman I knew.
Sali was living in Oaxaca, Mexico teaching women's self defense, working for indigenous rights and dancing when she was raped brutally murdered this past week.
In searching the web for news of her death, I was saddened, though not shocked to find that the only outlets reporting on this horrific tragedy were independent media, and small foreign press.Like many of the horrors committed the world over, the assault and murder of a woman, especially a woman doing social justice work, will never get the sort of mainstream press that is given to movie stars getting DUI's, or an NFL firing (both top stories on internet news today.)
Sali was a passionate and tough-ass woman whose murder I heard about only because she is part of my small community.
According to the National Organization for Women, 'Every day four women die in this country as a result of domestic violence, the euphemism for murders and assaults by husbands and boyfriends. That's approximately1,400 women a year, according to the FBI.' And, 'Every year approximately 132,000 women report that they have been victims of rape or attempted rape, and more than half of them knew their attackers.It's estimated that two to six times that many women are raped, but do not report it.'
How many of these women's stories do we hear. More importantly, how isit that more than four times as many women are raped every year (that being a low estimate based on reported rapes ONLY) in the U.S. alone as die from cervical cancer, yet we have public service announcements, and government funded programs to get our teenage girls shots to 'protect' themselves from the latter. Maybe if a girl could get a shot to prevent rape. Maybe we could just make it the woman's responsibility to prevent rape.... wait, we already do. Where is the outrage for the terror that more that half the world's population lives with, being targets of sexual violence and control.
What about the more than 350 women who have been raped and murdered since 1993 in Juarez, Mexico alone. Most of the cases still unsolved.
What about the over 3,200 Guatemalan women who have been abducted and murdered, with many of them raped, tortured, and mutilated between 2000 and 2007. (for more info., http://www.libertadlatina.org/ )
I am sending this email out to make sure that much of the work that Sali was living for, and died in the midst of is left overwhelmingly unfinished. It is left to us.
I write this knowing that the women reading this email live with this everyday on some level.
I write this with the hope that you will forward this story. That you will remember Sali and want to make sure that she is not forgotten.
That you will find every way possible in your life to challenge and destroy sexism, in all it's forms.
I write this so that you help me create a different world for my yet to be born child.
Because I am terrified.
- Quinn Russell, Olympia, WA
The following is the initial report about Salli's death. Updates follow.
International Human Rights Accompanier Raped and Murdered in Oaxaca
by Julie Webb-Pullman, New Zealand
The body of United States citizen Marcella 'Sali' Grace was found on September 24 in a deserted cabin 20 minutes from the village of San José del Pacífico, in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. She had been raped, brutally beaten, and killed. A villager who had gone to feed dogs in the area noticed a bad smell and informed the municipal authorities, who found and removed the body.Julieta Cruz, a friend of Sali's, was only able to identify her from her tattoos, as her face was unrecognisbale.
Sali had been working as an 'international accompanier' in Oaxaca, whereby foreign nationals provide protective accompaniment to human rights workers, political activists,and members of social organisations who are under threat,such as members of the Asemblea Popular de los Pueblos de Oaxaca (APPO) who are continuing to suffer widespread repression by the corrupt government of Ulises Ruis Ortiz.In the weeks before her death Sali had told friends and colleagues that she believed she was under surveillance, and was being subjected to political persecution.
In a practice that has become only too familiar with the deaths and disappearances of hundreds of Oaxacans since 2006, the Oaxacan Attorney General's Office is dragging its heels,doing little to progress the investigation or bring the killer/s to justice. Despite the existence of witnesses able to identify those responsible for Sali's rape and murder,they have not been interviewed. Friends and colleagues of Sali's trying to find out what happened to her have been denied access to any information, including the case number and autopsy results, leading to growing concern that her murder is related to the widespread repression and persecution of social movements in Oaxaca, and is now being directly targeted at international observers. Many believe that the intellectual authors of Sali's death are the same as those who ordered the repression against the people of Oaxaca in their struggle for justice and freedom over the last few years.
'In the face of these bloody events,and for the brutal cruelty used against compañera Sali, wedon't disregard that this could be a clear message directed at all the people of Oaxaca, as well as the compañeros insolidarity from different parts of the world; we say this based on the recent national and international news which says that APPO members were the ones who killed U.S.journalist Bradley Roland Will. We are worried about the distortion of information like this, and about the obvious bureaucratic slowness with which the authorities involvedare already treating this investigation, and that these things will prevent us getting true justice for our compañera,' said a spokesperson of the Oaxacan women's movement.
Marcella 'Sali' Grace
In a cruel irony, she also noted that one of Sali's activities in Oaxaca was teaching women's self-defense courses, in recognition of the endemic violence against women there and to help them walk 'free and respected.'
Oaxacan women's groups have been joined by other social movements and individuals to demand that the Oaxaca Attorney General's Office immediately clarify the facts surrounding Sali's murder, conduct a full and speedy investigation, and bring the perpetrator/s to justice. They are also protesting outside United States consular offices in Mexico, encouraging them also to demand justice for their citizen.
'Enough is enough of the murders, violence and hate against women who fight for justice,' they said.
Those who Sali died trying to protect are now calling on concerned people everywhere, especially other human rights workers and women, to join their demand for a proper investigation into her death, by sending an email to them at
firstname.lastname@example.org or telephoning (01 951) 5178190CIPO
Mexican Activists Turn Over Mexico City Man to Police in Sally Grace Eiler Murder Case
by Kristin Bricker - September 27, 2008
Last night Mexican police transferred Omar Yoguez Singu, 32, to the Oaxacan attorney general's custody for murdering 20-year-old Marcella'Sally' Grace Eiler. The AP reports that he claims he had consensual sex with Sally, then killed her with a machete during an argument.
Yoguez Singu was captured thanks to the quick action of Oaxacan activists who publicized her murder internationally.
Yoguez Singu raised his friends' suspicions when he returned to Mexico City from a recent trip to San Jose del Pacifico, were locals discovered Sally's decaying and mutilated body in a cabin. They noticed that he was injured and that his two dogs were missing, so they asked him what happened. Yoguez Singu reportedly told them that one of his dogs bit a child in the community, so locals tried to kill the dog with a machete. He allegedly told them that he was injured attempting to save the dog.
Thanks to the widely disseminated statement signed by Oaxacan organizations that Sally worked with, people in Yoguez Singu'scircle of friends knew that a woman was murdered in San Jose del Pacifico while Yoguez Singu was there. They called activists in Oaxacato confirm Yoguez Singu's story about his dogs.
Townspeople from San Jose del Pacifico denied Yoguez Singu's story. They said bothof the dogs were still with them because Yoguez Singu had left withoutthem. They also reportedly said he was the last person they saw with Sally before she disappeared.
When Yoguez Singu's friends confronted him about his lies, he reportedly confessed to them. His friends kept an eye on him while Oaxacan activists made the trip to Mexico City to obtain an arrest warrant.
When the arrest warrant was finalized, activists reportedly arranged to meet police in a supermarket to hand over Yoguez Singu. The AP reports that he was arrested on Wednesday, September 24.
Activists were quick to place Sally's murder in the context of rampant unchecked violence against women in Oaxaca. They note that aggressors are hardly ever punished for their crimes. 'There is no justice in Oaxaca,' said a spokesperson for the Popular Indigenous Council of Oaxaca - Ricardo Flores Magon (CIPO-RFM).
For further updates please visit: http://angrywhitekid.blogs.com/