Karen Naundorf

Journalistin, Südamerika, Hamburg/Buenos Aires

2 Abos und 8 Abonnenten

Uniform Femicides: System Errors

2021: A Year in Stories

// Pulitzer Center staff have selected just 32 stories to highlight. One of the stories: "Uniform Femicides: System Errors", by Karen Naundorf (author) and Sarah Pabst (photographer).

Ursula Bahillo could still be alive. She had filed several charges against her ex-boyfriend, a police officer. But no protective measures were taken. He stabbed her to death on February 8, 2021. After Ursula's murder, protesters took to the streets throughout Argentina to denounce the heinous crime and the fatal failure of the authorities.

Ursula's murder is no exception. Since 2015 women in Argentina have been shouting "Ni una menos" ("not one more"), spurring a movement throughout Latin America and beyond.

But, the number of femicides is not decreasing: In 2020, a woman was killed every 29 hours in Argentina, with 212 children losing their mothers. “It is indeed another pandemic to attack,” states Florencia Raes in a 2020 United Nations report. A quarter of the murdered women had previously filed charges against their killers. 12% of the murderers were members of the security forces, according to the Observatorio MuMaLa.

Supported by a grant of the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting (www.pulitzercenter.org) Karen Naundorf and photographer Sarah Pabst went in search of systemic failures in Argentina’s institutions. For this purpose, they visited family members of women and girls who had been murdered by police officers or ex-policemen. The encounters with relatives, lawyers, and investigators specialized in security forces were very intense: Each case, each story was sadder than the last one. And not only sadder, they also left the journalists frustrated: So many murders could have been prevented if the institutions had only worked properly.

However, there are some signs of hope: the commitment of feminists in key positions in ministries. They are trying to bring change — a Herculean task in a society that is permeated by machismo. 

Photos: Sarah Pabst (www.sarahpabst.com)

The results of the research have been published with differing focuses in:
Washington Post (text and photos)
SRF (Swiss TV, broadcast, text, photos)
Zeit.de (text and photos)
Deutschlandfunk Kultur (radio feature, text, photos)
Monde Diplomatique (text)
Revista Anfibia (text and photos)