Guatemalan police report that the number of female homicides is on the rise, with nearly 500 victims so far this year—a pace that is likely to eclipse the 672 such murders in 2008. Known as “femicide,” these murders are attributed to machismo violence carried out through juvenile gangs and groups of organized crime. Their targets are women between the ages of 13 and 30 and the murders are taking place primarily in and around Guatemala City. The most recent such murders occurred north of Guatemala City, where the victims were found wrapped in sheets and their bodies showed evidence of physical torture.
A Guatemalan Human Rights Commission report noted that an estimated 98 percent of the cases reported remain in impunity even though Guatemala passed a law against femicide in 2008, recognizing it as a punishable crime.