Textures of Terror is part memoir, part forensic investigation

By Staff Reports

Author Victoria Sanford will discuss her book about an investigation of the unsolved murder of a female law student and the pervasive violence against Guatemalan women that drives migration.

The discussion on Textures of Terror: The Murder of Claudina Isabel & Her Father’s Quest for Justice is sponsored by the Morgan Hill branch of the American Association of University Women. It’s scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 1 at The Granary in downtown Morgan Hill.

Sanford wrote the book to help readers understand the violence and corruption that is driving women and children to flee Guatemala.

“Women who suffer from gender violence and sexual assault in Guatemala find no relief or protection from the very institutions that should be helping them,” she said. “The police, the prosecutors and the courts are all complicit in this violence because they fail to investigate and sanction gender violence and the murder of women.”

Part memoir and part forensic investigation, Textures of Terror is about a father’s determined struggle and other stories of justice denied. It offers a deeper understanding of U.S. policies in Latin America and their ripple effect on migration.

A John Simon Guggenheim Fellow and professor of anthropology at the City University of New York, Sanford offers an up-close appraisal of the inner workings of the Guatemalan criminal justice system and how it maintains inequality, patriarchy and impunity. Presenting the stories of other women who have suffered at the hands of strangers, intimate partners and the security forces, she reveals the deeply gendered nature of power and violence in Guatemala.

AAUW member Lesley Miles met Sanford while working on her memoir about the time she spent in Guatemala in the 1970s.

“People in South Valley will be interested to learn about what drives Guatemalan women and children to the U.S. border to seek refuge,” Miles said.

In addition to discussing her book, Dr. Sanford will also talk about the near month-long national strike against corruption in Guatemala as well as how people in the South Valley can support women in Guatemala and refugees in the United States, she said.

“Sanford’s book is an important book to read so we can better understand the challenges for women in Guatemala and why they flee Guatemala,” Miles said.

The venue, The Granary, on Depot Street in Morgan Hill will also display Mayan textiles from the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Sanford is a public scholar, anthropologist and internationally recognized expert on the Guatemalan genocide.

She also served as an invited expert in the Spanish National Court’s genocide case against the Guatemalan generals and in an indigenous land rights case in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.