With a freshly minted passport, she was set to compete for the prestigious Miss World title in London, a trip which would be the first plane ride of her life. But her dreams of glamour and glory were never to be. Just a few days before she was set to leave for the competition, Alvarado and her sister, year-old Sofia Trinidad, were brutally murdered. Their bodies were hidden in shallow graves in a riverbank in Santa Barbara, Honduras, discovered after a week-long manhunt that made international headlines.
Their t funeral was broadcast around the world and attended by thousands. Otherwise, she says, she would probably still be looking for answers.
That boyfriend, then year-old Plutarco Ruiz, was known as a powerful man in Santa Barbara. The night of his birthday party, authorities say they believe Ruiz shot his girlfriend Sofia after a jealous argument. They say he then turned his gun on Maria Jose as she tried to flee the scene.
Combine this with a government unable to cope with a relentless tide of drug-related crimeMedina says, you get a culture where women are disposable.
Violence is part of everyday life in Honduras, one of a triangle of Central American countries wracked by rampant gang warfare, with some of the highest murder rates outside of a war zone. But there is another brutal war raging there, one hidden just below the surface: Honduras has been called the most dangerous place on earth to be a woman.
According to the U. Inthe United Nations reported that 95 percent of cases of sexual violence and femicide in Honduras were never even investigated. Alvarado and her sister Sofia Trinidad's bodies were discovered after a week-long manhunt that made international headlines.
Their oldest sister, Cori Alvarado, was there when their bodies were found. Police charged Ruiz with the murders, but more than two years later, he still has not been tried and maintains his innocence. While the name Maria Jose Alvarado has become a national symbol for a culture of rampant femicide, her mother and surviving sister say they are living in fear, terrified of retaliation from the killer. They are hopeful to one day receive asylum to come to the United States. For many of the women, it is not about escaping poverty, it may be life and death.
Heydi Hernandez, a year-old mother of five, lives with the horrific memories and brutal scars from the night her husband attacked her with a machete after a heated argument. She says her oldest daughter witnessed as he severed both of her feet. She walks with donated prosthetics. She has a good job that supports her children and even plays in an all-male wheelchair basketball league. The authority has to reach these women.
Neesa Medina says reporting crimes and obtaining restraining orders often do little to prevent women from being attacked. Is a bullet more powerful than a piece of paper?
So if you cannot assure her and her family to be safe, and the best you can do … is to show her a piece of paper, that's almost like ing her death sentence right there. Fear is an ever-present reality of life for so many women here, yet the Honduran government fails to provide shelters or safe houses. So families in the gravest danger are at the mercy of private charities. The mother tells us no one would ever suggest she testify against the man who raped her, instead they suggest she leave the country.
She says that she believes he had already murdered another woman, but was never arrested for the crime. The family is currently living in hiding in a shelter run by the Irish charity Trocairewhich is helping her family relocate to another, safer country.
His latest executive order cuts the of refugees the U. While so many women are fleeing, Neesa Medina said some young feminists are holding their ground. Other activists have turned to less traditional protest means.
Neesa Medina said she still has hope that change will come to Honduras. We'll notify you here with news about. Turn on desktop notifications for breaking stories about interest?
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