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French Artist Draws Attention to Women's Killings in Mexico
By: Monica Faro

MADRID (EFE).- To denounce the hundreds of crimes against women that go unsolved and unpunished in Ciudad Juarez, French artist Peggy Adam speaks through the pictures in "Luchadoras" (Female Fighters), a comic that calls attention to the hundreds who have been tortured, raped, kidnapped and murdered in that Mexican border city.

The insecurity, the fear, the desperation of families and the constant threats suffered by mothers of the victims who demand justice are just part of the drama Peggy Adam portrays in this graphic novel of less than 100 pages, born of her "shock" at hearing some their testimonies.

"The reality was much worse than I thought," the author told Efe, adding that she learned of the tragic situation in Ciudad Juarez through an article in the Swiss edition of the Amnesty International magazine, which described the killings as an "epidemic" and denounced the impunity that lets hundreds of murderers of women go free.

Ciudad Juarez, considered Mexico's most dangerous city and the scene of frequent shootouts between rival drug traffickers, first gained notoriety in the early 1990s when young women began to disappear in the area.

More than 500 women have been killed in Ciudad Juarez since 1993, according to the Mexican National Human Rights Commission, with the majority of the cases going unsolved.

"A city in the grip of drug cartels cannot be a city of law. They attack the representatives of public order, they attack the families' attorneys and the families themselves. There are even police implicated in drug trafficking and in cases of rape. How is justice to be served under such conditions when corruption reaches the highest levels?" Adam asked.

Although "Luchadoras," published by Sins Entido, is Peggy Adam's first work in Spanish, her drawings are widely known in France, where the artist tackles current events in different media, contributes to children's publications and has published other comics dealing with women's place in French society.

Her work is born of an insatiable curiosity and is undoubtedly influenced by the idea that "when something moves me, I have to talk about it."

And she talks about it through comics because that is the medium she best knows how to use and because she thinks that "it is accepted as an art in itself that is open to all audiences" and because, in the author's opinion, "it is at the same level as movies and literature."

Adam believes that, unlike several decades ago, the comic "is no longer systemically associated with humor," but "is a complete art form," with a multiplicity of categories - documentary, adventure, autobiography, fiction, drama and comedy - and that "it is called the ninth art for a reason."

The simplicity of black-and-white sketches fills with light and shade the portrayal of these women, these fighting "luchadoras" who show up where the action is and who, Adam said, "set out to enforce justice."

The Frenchwoman confesses that, through her studies of women gone missing in the border town, which has become a symbol of sexual violence worldwide, she discovered that in France "every three days a woman is the victim of sexual violence" and regrets that, while these crimes "may be solved," the numbers are "chilling."

"To fight against machismo and misogyny, there has to be a change of mentality," she said.

Peggy Adam | Luchadoras | Ciudad Juarez |

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