Not One More!!
The Arte Sana altar was dedicated to the four Mexican women who were ambushed and murdered in Donna, Texas in September 2002.
Not One More!!
Artist: Arte Sana
November 15, 2002

Arte Sana created an altar to honor Latina victims of gender-based along the border in conjunction with the commemoration of the 25th of November (Day of No Violence Against Women). The Arte Sana altar was dedicated to the four Mexican women who were ambushed and murdered in Donna, Texas in September 2002:

*María de la Luz Bazaldúa, from Matamoros;
*Denise Lares Sánchez, from Veracruz;
*Danitzene Lizzeth Vázquez Beltrán de Guadalupe, from Monterrey; and
*Lourdes Yesenia Araujo Torres, from Monterrey

Arte Sana’s altar was on display during ALLGO’s (
Austin Latina Latino Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Organization) celebration of Día de Los Muertos on Saturday, November 2, 2002.  For more information regarding the ALLGO’s Día de Los Muertos exhibit and performances visit

More about altars:

The altar is central to observing Día de los Muertos (day of the dead). The altar is used traditionally to ensure good relations between the individual/family on earth and the afterworld and to
remember the honored spirit.

Altars may also be used to honor victims of gender-based violence and to draw attention to the different forms of violence that plague our communities. Adornment of the altar (or ofrenda)
will vary with individuals. However, many objects are universal. Advocates may be creative, and use whatever objects or images that best represent the issues or honor the victims, as key elements in the preparation of an altar.

All four Mexican women were ambushed and murdered in front of the mobile home they shared in Donna, Texas on September 4, 2002. According to witness from the bar where the women worked, some customers became angry with them for rejecting their sexual advances and decided to ‘get back’ by following the women and ambushing them with gunfire while they were still in their car. According to investigators the four women "were killed in the most gruesome manner imaginable," shot with one or more semiautomatic pistols or assault-type rifles, more than 50 shell casings were found at the scene. A total of six young women suffered this savage attack, one was injured, and one managed to escape the scene, yet 77 days after the lethal ambush the case remains unsolved according to the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s office.

Ni Una Muerte +
by Arte Sana

About the altar:


The practice of victim blaming is global, no one group is exempt or free from assigning to the victims of gender-based violence some responsibility for their own victimization. In addressing violence against women, the range of popular assumptions that require dismantling include the toxic ideas that girls are inevitably inferior to boys, that sex with underage girls can be justified, the ideas that women may not be sexually autonomous and sexually experience women cannot be raped.

In Latin America, gender status inequity and victim blaming are reflected through various dichos (popular sayings). When daughters are born it is still common practice to refer to them as “chancletas” (inferior shoes) or “carne pa’ los gallotes” (meat for the rosters).

The attempt to justify sex with underage girls is reflected in the following dichos: “Ya pesa 40 kilos” (she already weighs 40 kilos or 88 lbs.) is an association of the weight of a girl with her supposed sexual maturity. “Amarra tu perra porque mis perros andan sueltos” (tie up your bitch because my dogs are loose) stands as a ‘warning’ to the parents of daughters.

The sexually experienced woman may be referred to as a “eaten bread,” “piruja” (whore) or “cancha reglamentaria” (regulation soccer field) upon which many have “played” or “scored.” The assumptions being that an experienced woman is promiscuous and a “damaged” woman cannot be raped.

The ultimate effect of victim blaming is to minimize violence against females, remove accountability from perpetrators, and promote the re-victimization of girls and women.

Laura Zárate

A special thank you to Alibel Pizarro from Panamá, Claudia Vaughan from Argentina, and to Esther Chávez, along with the staff and volunteers from Casa Amiga in Juárez, for their valuable insight.

Read the poem, "With Death In My Eyes" by Sebastián Colón.

Read about last year's altar for the Day of the Dead.

Learn more about some of the victims of gender-based violence along the border.

Article: Toxic silence by Laura Zárate




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