Saturday, October 14, 2017

Femicide and victim blaming in Mexico; Mexico's largest state rocked by slayings of women

Posted by DD Materials from Council on Hemispheric Affairs,   ABC News


  It seemed like any other day in the life of a 19-year old girl. On September 8, Mara Fernanda Castilla, a political science student had just been enjoying a night out with friends in the college town of Cholula, in the central state of Puebla. At around 5 am, she decided to use a Cabify car, a ride-sharing platform popular in Latin America, to get home safely. However, she never made it home and was reported missing by her sister a few hours later[i]. Following a week of investigations, the local Public Prosecutor’s Office announced that Castilla’s body had been found wrapped in a sheet at the bottom of a ravine, in the border between Puebla and Tlaxcala.

The inquiries revealed that Cabify’s driver Ricardo Alexis had allegedly subdued her and took her to a motel, just blocks from Castilla’s home, where he later raped and strangled her.[ii] Security video footage shows that Alexis parked in front of Castilla’s home for several minutes without her exiting the car before heading to the motel.[iii] Her cellphone and clothes were also found at Alexis’ home in a small town in Tlaxcala[iv]. Alexis will now go to trial and if found guilty, he may face up to 85 years in prison; 60 of them for the crime of femicide.[v]



Earlier this year, Castilla had protested the murder of Lesvy Osorio, another university student whose body was found on the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) campus in Mexico City. Castilla used the trending hashtag #SiMeMatan (if they kill me) on a May 5 tweet that read “#SiMeMatan it’s because I liked to go out at night and drink a lot of beer….”[vi]. Following Lesvy Osorio’s murder the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Mexico City shared through social media, even before the investigations were disclosed, that Osorio was an alcoholic and a drug user who was no longer studying at UNAM, and had been living out of wedlock with her boyfriend.[vii] It was precisely these kind of sexist comments that led #SiMeMatan to become a trending topic on Twitter to protest the use of the victim’s personal life as a way to justify their murder.

The terms femicide refers to a crime involving the violent and deliberate killing of a woman.[viii] Both crimes have caused wide national outrage in a country where over 17,000 women were murdered between 2007 and 2014.[ix] In the state of Puebla alone, 82 femicides have been documented by NGOs so far this year, but only 58 of those crimes have been officially recognized by the state Public Prosecutor’s Office.[x] Feminist groups and other human rights organizations have also denounced that the state of Tlaxcala is home to powerful sex trafficking groups that operate at both national and international levels, which could be involved in this crime.[xi] This is the reason why, on September 17, thousands of women protested all across Mexico to request justice for Mara Castilla, as well as to demand an end to the growing number of gender-related crimes and the apparent indifference at all government levels.



Victim blaming has been a constant in gender-related crimes in Mexico, as the initial response of Mexico City’s authorities after Lesvy Osorio’s murder show. It is not different this time. In an interview following Castilla’s homicide, the president of Madero University in Puebla, Job César Romero said that gender-related crimes were caused by “social decomposition and the current liberties that girls have to go out until very late…because they now have more autonomy to travel alone in their cars or in any other means of transport”.[xii] Social media has been a useful instrument in mobilizing against these crimes; however, it has also served to reveal the misogyny that permeates an important sector of Mexican society where men and women continue to blame the victims for the crimes that befall them.

A relevant question that still remains is whether femicides are a cultural phenomenon or if they are related to a variety of structural aspects such as high levels of impunity and the inability to include a gender-perspective in the killing of women. It can be argued that the normalization of violence against women is still a prevalent characteristic within Mexican society. However, it also seems likely that other factors related to the administration of justice or the lack of gender-inclusive policies are responsible for the increasing number of gender-related crimes in Mexico.

While Mara Castilla’s murder may become an emblematic case in the struggle against femicides, there are still hundreds of female homicides that remain invisible and unpunished. Additionally, the difference in the number of femicides that are reported by civil society organizations and the media, and the ones that are officially recognized by the local and national authorities, reveal at least two issues: the limited communication between the government and society, as well as the inadequacy and reluctance to apply a gender analysis into the investigation of women’s deaths.[xiii]

For example, a significant number of murders of women are initially ruled as homicides.[xiv] Additionally, the indifference and sexist responses from the authorities, who respond that women probably ran away when the families bring their cases to their attention, represent important obstacles for the administration of justice in these cases. Even though Mexico has adopted innovative legislation that punishes gender-related crimes, the fact that several femicides are not considered as such does not help reduce the levels of impunity, nor to reduce the occurrence of these crimes.[xv]

Although the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Puebla is asking for Ricardo Alexis to be charged with femicide, there are still important issues regarding this case that call into question the responsibility of other actors in the continuation of these crimes. It has been revealed that before joining the ride-sharing company Cabify, Alexis had been dismissed from Uber for violating security rules.[xvi] In addition, despite having been detained for gas pipeline theft, Alexis was able to prove that he lacked a criminal record, which he presented to Cabify to fulfil the eligibility requirements.[xvii] Cabify’s operating license has been revoked and there is an increasing distrust of the safety of ride-sharing services, as well as of the companies’ responsibility in the prevention of these horrendous crimes.[xviii]

Facing the overwhelming increase in the number of femicides, civil society groups are demanding specific measures from the government. For instance, in addition to prioritizing the gender perspective and determining where Cabify’s responsibility lies, there is also the request to investigate whether this case can be linked to the human trafficking groups that operate in both Puebla and Tlaxcala.[xix] Moreover, there is a growing demand for the government to declare a gender alert– a mechanism that obliges authorities to implement measures that protect women’s’ rights and carry out in-depth investigations to solve acts of violence against women– at the national level and not only in the city of Puebla. 

The prevalent victim blaming and the number of femicide cases that remain unresolved may not present a very positive panorama for women in Mexico. Gender alerts have been labelled as unhelpful and criticized for not solving the gender-violence problem. However, despite the shortcomings of this legal mechanism, the importance of analysing female homicides from a gender perspective should not be overlooked. It is a way to make authorities more accountable as well as to raise awareness within different societal sectors that a femicide crisis is taking place.

***********

The following material was taken from an AP story published by ABC.

A Femicide Crisis is taking place and The Stare of Mexico is Ground Zero 

The State of Mexico officially ranks second to the nation's capital with 346 killings classified as femicides since 2011, according to government statistics.  

Before Mexico State, it was Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, that was notorious for killings of women, with nearly 400 slain there since 1993 and only a handful of cases resulting in convictions. Common to both places are marginalized, peripheral communities with high levels of violent crime, corruption and impunity.

 Deputy state prosecutor for gender violence crimes, Dilcya Garcia Espinoza de los Monteros,  said

"This problem is difficult to eradicate because it is rooted in ideas that assume that we as women are worth less than men, that we as women can be treated like trash."
In this Aug. 18, 2017 photo, relatives of murdered doctor and mother, Jessica Sevilla Pedraza, carry a framed portrait of her, a cross, and a box of mementos to be buried alongside her grave, as they arrive for Mass in Villa Cuauhtemoc, Mexico state. Pedraza had been shot in the head and decapitated, and the skin had been flayed from her skull. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

 Just like any other day, Dr. Jessica Sevilla Pedraza went to work at the hospital that morning, came home for a quick lunch and then left again. The plan was to see more patients, hit the gym and be back in time for her usual dinner with dad before he went to his night-shift job.


Instead a hospital co-worker showed up at the family's door in the evening. She said a man had come in with a bullet wound in his leg and told doctors he had been with Sevilla when gunmen intercepted them, shot him and took off with the doctor in her own car.


"Ma'am," the woman told Sevilla's mother, Juana Pedraza, "it's my duty to tell you that we cannot locate your daughter."


Two days later Pedraza identified 29-year-old Jessica's body at the morgue. She had been shot in the head and decapitated, and the skin had been flayed from her skull.


"I can't understand why," Pedraza said. "Why so much fury? Why so much hate?"

 Sevilla's gruesome death was part of a wave of killings of women plaguing the sprawling State of Mexico, which is the country's most populous with 16 million residents and surrounds the capital on three sides. The crisis of femicides — murders of women where the motive is directly related to gender — prompted the federal government to issue a gender violence alert in 2015, the first for any Mexican state, and has recently prompted outcry and protests.

 The government's classification of "femicide" allows significant room for interpretation, and many say the official figures are understated and unreliable. Violent crimes such as disappearances often go unreported and unpunished.

 Jessica Sevilla lived in Villa Cuauhtemoc, a small town surrounded by corn fields and empty lots outside the state capital, Toluca, with her parents, her four younger sisters and her 1-year-old son, Leon. The daughter of a truck driver and a shop owner, she went to college and became a doctor, cementing her place as the pride of the family. Her mother said whenever Jessica wasn't working or working out, she spent her time with Leon.


Jessica's disappearance, on a Friday in August, set off a frantic 48 hours of searching by the family. Under the gender violence alert issued two years earlier, authorities are supposed to investigate any woman's disappearance urgently. But Pedraza said authorities told her to wait until Sunday afternoon.


"And if she didn't come back (by then), I would have to come on Monday so they could start searching for my daughter," Pedraza said. "It was negligent, because otherwise we might be talking about my daughter being alive."


Ana Yeli Perez, an attorney with the National Citizens' Observatory Against Femicide, said that sort of response is all too common.


"Despite there already being tools that force public prosecutors to issue the gender violence alert, they refuse to launch investigations under the gender violence guidelines," Perez said.


Femicides have been getting increasing attention elsewhere in Latin America as well. In Argentina, a coalition of activists, artists and journalists started a movement known as Ni Una Menos, or Not One Less, after a spate of killings. The name came from a poem about the killings in Ciudad Juarez by Mexican writer Susana Chavez, who herself was slain in 2011.



 "Ni Una Menos" has become a widely used hashtag on social media in many places as more women turn up dead — as in the case of 19-year-old Mara Castilla, who disappeared after using a ride-hailing service in the central Mexican state of Puebla. The driver was arrested after it was determined that he never dropped her off at her house. Thousands of people gathered in Mexico City to protest her murder.


In Nezahualcoyotl, a group called Nos Queremos Vivas, or We Want to Stay Alive, sprung up after Valeria Gutierrez's murder. It has organized marches and a self-defense workshop at a high school where 70 percent of the students are girls.


At one class, students threw punches and kicks on an indoor soccer court — and talked about learning to be afraid from a young age.

 "I don't feel safe. ... A woman cannot walk down the street freely because there are always people, men, who start harassing you, who try to touch you just because you're wearing shorts or tight jeans," said Monica Giselle Rodriguez, 15.


"We want to help them prepare in case they have to defend themselves," martial arts instructor Cristofer Fuentes said.


Jessica Sevilla's mutilated body was found on a highway about 20 miles (30 kilometers) from where she was last seen alive at a gas station in her red, brand-new Mazda. A week after the burial, Pedraza marched across town with family members carrying a stone cross to mark her grave. The murder remains unsolved.


Pedraza raised her five daughters to be confident that they are equal to men and that nobody can hold them back. Now tasked with raising her grandson, Leon, she said she's focusing on the other side of the equation: Schools teach kids to read and write, but other values are instilled at home.


"With little Leon, we have the idea that we are going to teach him how to be a man," Pedraza said. "You don't hit women. You don't insult them. If she can clear your plate, you can do it too. ... Equality and respect, above all."

DD note:  NOW THAT IS HOW YOU CHANGE A CULTURE IF ALL PARENTS WOULD FOLLOW THE SAME PATH. 


37 comments:

  1. Before EPN was elected president it was known he was actively trying keep the murders quite so he could look good as a governor.

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    1. Yup, guess where? ...

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    2. In the state of Mexico which is the biggest by population and the femicide rate by some estimates has far surpassed that of Juarez.

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    3. EPN HAS STOLEN THE ELECTION FOR GOVERNOR OF ESTADO DE MEXICO.
      His kissin' cousin Alfredo del Mazo who had been robbing the public trough before becoming candidate "la loca" PRIISTA had no governing experience, but his family ties with the alfredo del mazo family, peña nieto and arturo montiel had to keep it in the family.of course the hank rohn complement the familia de rateros de atlacomulco.

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    4. EPN as governor of Estado de Mexico ordered about 40 women arrested and raped for participating in demonstrations against his state government stealing their land in Atenco to make himself a bigger airport,.. to move his drug trafficking easier.
      Of course mexican media and human rights organizations all over the world still don't know that that is true in any way.

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    5. 3:57 the arrests and rapes were by estado de mexico police officers working for EPN and the women were raped IN THE JAIL.
      "EPN 's girlfriend" (google and you tube) was also arrested and raped with a piece of pipe "por puto", orders of EPN.
      His uncle arturo montiel's wife had a boyfriend, argentinian who was shot dead on the street after the affair was known by arturo montiel, governor of Estado de Mexico and precandidate for president under salinas.

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  2. It seems Mexico has become a haven for serial murderers.

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    1. You obviously no nothing of known and unknown serial killers in the USA which has its own femicide - a nasty little secrete - issue which has been going on longer than Mexico's. Ever hear of Texas killing fields? That's just the tip of the iceberg.

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    2. Not even close.... mexico is war zone

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    3. @10:18 a.m yup ted bundy killed over 100 women by himself and he was only one of over 500 serial killers that are known in the u.s but at least here we got a 2nd amendment and can strap up and have a chance of defending ourselves!:)

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    4. @4:12PM
      Strap up and defend yourselves?? What good did that do to Bundy's victims? To the Las Vegas shooting victims? The 5 killed in Orange County Florida on June 5 2017? The 3 killed in San Francisco on June 14 by a UPS driver? The 49 killed in a Orlando club on June 12 2016? The 3 killed in Denver Colorado on November 29 2015? The 12 killed in Washington DC on September 16 2013? Jeffery Dahmer's victims? Ed Kemper's victims? The Keddie murder victims? The 500 serial killer's victims? What good did the 2nd amendment do? Where were all the armed citizens at? Stop lying to yourselves.

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    5. @12:09AM you said; "It seems Mexico has become a haven for serial murderers."

      Do a little homework before you make dumb ass statements. I think the truth will shock you.

      The following is info from World Atlas as of April 2017.

      Countries That Produced The Largest Number Of Serial Killers:

      1 United States 2,743
      2 England 145
      3 South Africa 112
      4 Canada 101
      5 Italy 94
      6 Japan 91
      7 Germany 75
      8 Australia 75
      9 Russia 70
      10 India 65



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    6. --the serial killers who on the US are a world apart, independent, secretive, do not always use weapons, because they are not always culeros, they believe in their independence, they do not use patriotic reasons or carpet bombing or poison gases, and do not sell those services to third world countries' dictators and strong men 5o rob and pocket the money or rob their countries of liberty a d resources.
      In mexico the murderers are usually police or their associate sicarios and military that the governme t they support shortchange at paying time, and of course some unlicensed freelancers with taxis chocolates, Uber and cabify need a big lawsuit up their ass, if you need a ride you should keep in co tact with somebody and report your ride and driver at all times, there should be a 911 to ask for help immediately, but of course, mexican lawmakers are too busy for shit like that. --Try and stay home, have common sense,
      at least until the minor children "get educated by their parents" in 20 years or so and end up working as taxistas.

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    7. @ 8:40 PM - umm... murders in mexico are not even prosecuted! How in the hell would they make that list if they dont even get investigated and determined to be 'serial killer' murders? Use your brain a little before you make "dumb ass statements" !

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    8. @8:38 p.m.none of these were armed and almost all were in gun free zones!the kind of firepower the vegas shooter had and his location made it to where even a combat veteran wouldnt have had a chance but none of the other victims were armed and were in gun free zones!

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    9. Those are documented #'s...in Places like Central, and South America, not to mention Africa, Asia, and middle east, 3rd world nations basically there is no documentation. A "Serial Killer" to me is a mentally ill psycho/sociopath that kills compulsively for no monetary or material gain. I don't consider people at war official or illegal Serial Killers. They are killing for gain. The Femicide and misogynist subject is entirely different. Mexico like other nations where poverty is the norm still have cultures that are more tolerant of violence and all out disrespect to females in general. Add that to a country that is also very complicent to criminals, and you have a serious problem. Mexico has some serious cultural issues to overcome. It saddens me to say this, as I am of Mexican descent. But change needs to happen. The people need to rise up, and take back their country. So so sad. One thing for men to engage voluntarily in illicit activities, but to exploit, drug, rape, and kill innocent women and children is the lowest of low. Rapists and Chimo's need to be executed upon conviction.

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    10. @4:27pm
      Exactly, what good did the 2nd amendment do?

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    11. Some consider 11/9 a ritual sacrifice by the occult like so many other events. You can't be truly sure even about the world wars because the deeper you dig you end at occult organisations which organised them on all sides, *together*.

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  3. What was person drinking at 5 in the morning???????. Stay home young people.

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  4. Como en todo lado los asesinos de mujeres no respetan ni a sus propias pinche putas madres!
    Son culos que se creen superiores a ellas pero no tienen la educacion para mantenerlas.
    Esto es aparte de varios femenicidos como los de Juarez que un 80 por ciento mas o menos de ellos eran causados para trafico de organos!

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    1. 5:33 lo del trafico de organos son puras pinchis mamadas en por lo menos 90% de los casos.

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  5. There seems to be a never ending supply of f'n animals. Not only cartel scum, but seemingly normal people willing to commit horrific crimes. Maybe 1% get caught. Unfortunately the whole country needs a cleansing

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  6. I am not a woman, and have walked in mexico city and cd juarez from end to end, also pachuca hidalgo, aguascalientes, guadalajara, guanajuato and zacatecas, and nobody ever bothered me, but since the late 70's it all started to change, it was COMMONN SENSE that you do not walk alone on the street late at night, or whatever happens will be your fault, if some of these ladies have not had enough sense of self preservation after so much murdering and disappearances is not an excuse to blame the blame assigners, nobody can become instant magic investigators or crime solvers, personal responsibility starts with YOU, man or woman of any age.
    Then the police, should start investigating right away, may be if the chief of police gets fired every time an incident happens things could improve, the municipal authorities are responsible for the Public Security, no excuses.
    Another thing is that men could be bended from the streets at night, after all most of the crimes are caused by them, and let the women patrol and take care of the public security, they may be able to do a better job than the stupid elements in charge now, good only for jerking off, according to the optics.
    Of course some could try and investigate EPN for the murder of his first wife, which still stinks to the high heavens...

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  7. 8:05 am you are exactly what the article is talking about. Victim Blaming. Good thing you pointed out that you are NOT a woman, cuz if you were things would not have been the same walking the city end to end.

    The Point is, why can't I, as a female, enjoy a night out and take an Uber or some ride sharing app (which is the responsible way rather than drinking & driving) home or even just go to work after having lunch at home without there being such a big possibilty of being kidnapped, raped, decapitated and have the skin frayed from my skull? Are the men of this country such cowards and perverts as to not recognize reality for woman and not stand up to protect them? The men are the problem and the perpetrators and they are blaming the females for becoming their victims

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    1. Victim blaming is a lot different than problem finding, don't be a dumbass, I only say I am not a woman because I am a man affraid of going against common sense, if it is not safe for men out there, it will not be safe for women, GÜEY,
      --You will not be there for the next victim of femicidio with your pendejadas, I won't be there either, just this advice, beware and have some common sense. works for males and females.

      Delete
  8. Nice article DD

    The oldest form of hate crime and discrimination, unfortunately.
    Sad to say; but something that many were taught with from upbringing.

    E42

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    1. The oldest form of hate crime an discrimination ?? Why because someone goes an does something ignorant and something bad happens an we say why did you do such an ignorant thing when you know the consequences.

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  9. hate to say but mex is too far gone short of a revolution.

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    1. 6:34 basic public safety only needs of the public to stop expecting that the corrupt narco-government satrapy in power will someday "care", they will not care, the US government even deleted measurable results requirements from the public aid they decided to give their mexican puppet government, it was on the contracts, and the US deleted it in request from the murderers they bought and paid and let loose on the mexicans...
      Nice "war on drugs"

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  10. In mexico theres 0 respect for womens rights. How many women are found beat up half dead in empty lots in tamulipas? If a woman or a girl is walking or even if theyre in a car with their man theyre kidnapped. Look it up. Its fucking sickening.

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    1. Unfortunately,this form of hate crime dates back as long as religion itself.
      Many women are victims of such in many countries today.
      America itself has only begun to implement
      women's rights as an issue of urgency around 50 years ago.
      An implementation which in truth still has hiccups.
      Nevertheless, this behavior towards women
      as secondary citizens is deeply rooted in culture for centuries.
      A poor excuse of behavior and thinking on part of many.

      As DD noted; educate your children to the errors of past ignorance behavioral practices!

      E42

      Delete
  11. Last party I went to here I did not know the people all that well. There was a very friendly and very outgoing Tarrahumara woman that was singing karaoke. Everyone was applauding Her. Her husband who was not Indian went up to her and starting punching her in the face. They stopped him from hitting her and then separated them. After about 10 minutes he said he was fine and would not do it anymore. Well he got back to her as she was sobbing and starting pulling her hair and hotting her again. Again they were separated. Started over again. She was there to have a good time as you do at parties and everyone liked her. He finally talked her into a dance as I thought maybe this would not go on anymore. He violently pushed her to the ground while they were dancing and proceeded to kick her. I wanted to punch the guy but I only knew the guy that brought me to the party and I was not interested in dying that night. No police were called and I an sure it kept going on after we left. I am sure they felt he would be better off out of jail, because he would sober up and she would be in trouble without the breadwinner. This happens a lot and it is not reported here. Most of the time just like it is in any country it is the less educated or poorer men that are doing the beat downs and berating. Many times the police do not take the guy and it can make it harder for the woman when they leave. If there is no money in it for the police and they know it. They will not waste their time arresting the perp. I am sure the poor woman that just wanted to enjoy herself will have a very swollen face in the morning after being treated like a pinata.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. 8:13 You did not help, you sick pussy.
      In those cases you punch the mophakka on the snout, they don't want a second helping of whoopass...

      Delete
    2. 8:13 No you idiot. I am an older man with health problems. I said things to him, but that was it. His boys and friends probably would have beat the hell out of me. In parties here when you do not know anyone but the person that brought you, you do not act stupid. It can get you killed. This treatment of women here is common and no one ever does anything. Even dancing with the wrong woman here can get you killed. He was their own and they were the pussies idiot. You would not last here long or you would get the shit beat out of you or end up without life.

      Delete
  12. Great post DD , thank you

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    1. You made bail DD. Nice, who paid el Mayo?

      Delete

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