Crimes Without Punishment: Violence Against Women in Guatemala

Karen Musalo

Part of the Spring 2010 Bay Area Latin America Forum

April 8, 2010

Event description

Sexual violence against women was widely used as a war strategy during Guatemala’s internal armed conflict. Although the conflict ended over 14 years ago, violence against women continues to plague the country, making Guatemala arguably the most dangerous place for women in all of Latin America. Since 2001, more than 4,000 women have been killed in gender-motivated murders known as “femicides,” crimes that have been committed with virtual impunity. This talk will address the femicides, the conditions that lead to impunity and the relationship between this violence and women’s claims for refugee protection in the U.S.


Karen Musalo, a clinical professor of Law at UC Hastings, is widely recognized for her innovative work on refugee issues. In 2009 she won a landmark victory in the case of Rody Alvarado, a Guatemalan woman who fled to the United States because of domestic violence.