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Violence against young women, girls and adolescents increases despite efforts in Latin America and the Caribbean

02 / April / 2019

  • The survey on the prevalence of sexual violence against women in the context of the Colombian armed conflict indicates that 875,437 adolescents, girls and adult women were victims of some type of sexual violence in 142 municipalities of Colombia, where there is a presence of guerrillas, public forces, paramilitaries or criminal gangs (Bacrim), in the period 2010 - 2015. In total 16 victims every hour. (Campaign rapes and other violence: get my body out of this war, 2017).
  • Data from the Single Victims Registry (RUV), with a cut-off as of February 1, 2019, reveal that of 2'348.540 girls, boys and adolescents included for various victimizing acts, 2'317.397 (that is, 98.6 %) are victims of displacement and, of them 1,041,993 (45 %) are girls and adolescent women.
  • At the III Latin American Thought Seminar on the Rights of the Child to be held in Bogotá, experts from Latin America and the Caribbean will analyze the challenges and responses that the region has to counteract violence against girls, adolescents and adult women.

Bogota. The III Latin American Thought Seminar on the Rights of the Child, which will take place in Bogotá on April 9, and in which international experts from different countries of Latin America and the Caribbean will participate, comes at a time when violence against children is intensifying instead of giving way, despite notable efforts of governments and civil society organizations.

This is revealed by the survey on the prevalence of sexual violence against women in the context of the Colombian armed conflict (Campaign violations and other violence: get my body out of this war, 2017), which indicates that 875,437 adult women, adolescents and girls were victims of some type of sexual violence in 142 municipalities of Colombia, where there is a presence of public forces, guerrillas and paramilitaries or criminal gangs (Bacrim), in the period 2010 - 2015, which implies a prevalence of 18.36 %, that is, each day 400 girls, adolescents and adult women were victims of sexual violence, which means 16 victims every hour.

In 22.8 % of those cases, the aggressor used intimidation with a weapon: 51 % firearm, 36% knife and 8.8 % blunt weapon. The results thus evidenced the relationship between militarism, armamentism and sexual violence in contexts where hegemonic masculinities predominate with the presence of armed actors and the use of weapons both in the public and in the private sphere.

In a ruling on the subject, the Constitutional Court of Colombia indicates that sexual violence against women and girls has been used systematically as a weapon of war in the context of the armed conflict. And he adds that the symbolic control of a territory and its population occurs, in part, through the physical control of women (retention, rape, prostitution and sexual exploitation of girls and boys).

In these situations, in general, intimidation and direct threats force women to remain silent and not to denounce these atrocious and invisible practices of war, according to the entity.

Juan Martín Pérez García, executive secretary of @REDLAMYC (Latin American and Caribbean Network for the Defense of the Rights of Children and Adolescents) agrees with this statement, who assures that in the contexts of an unconventional war and in crime scenes Organized women as a whole become objects of their own confrontation, where they are used as trophies or as means of revenge, which implies that in all these expressions adolescents and young women are the most affected, because "If you want to harm the enemy, it is done through their women or if you want to have a trophy of the antagonist, you have through their women, and this expression of machismo is very marked in wars", holds.

Pérez is one of the international experts who will participate in the III Latin American Thought Seminar on Children's Rights, which aims to reflect on the challenges and responses to violence against girls in theaters of armed conflict and organized crime. With him will be Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño, president of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR); Daniel Claverie, consultant in the area of Promotion and Protection of Rights of the Inter-American Institute for Children and Adolescents (IIN-OEA), and Alicia Vargas, vice president of the Network for the Rights of the Child in Mexico (REDIM), among others .

“For Colombia it is very important that this seminar be held with such high-level experts. It will allow us to show more closely the coalitions of organizations that protect the rights of children in 19 countries, the context and the particularities of the types of violence that our girls and adolescents are subjected to. We will be able to make visible the presence and activity of REDLAMYC as the largest network that exists for the defense of the rights of children and adolescents, and of the potential that as a civil society we have to influence the problems that concern us ", explains Gloria Carvalho, executive secretary of the Alliance for Colombian Children.

The seminar is held within the framework of the #TejiendoRedesInfancia project, carried out by REDLAMYC, co-financed by the European Union and led in the country by the Alianza por la Niñez Colombiana, a member of the network of networks. It will take place in Bogotá at the Convention Center - Metrotel 74.

Among the topics that will be discussed are: "Challenges and responses to violence against girls in theaters of armed conflict and organized crime", "Violence against girls in theaters of war and organized crime, situation and implications for their development and of society ”and“ Experiences of participation of girls as agents of change and peace builders in contexts of armed conflict and organized crime ”.

Other figures

  • Data from the Single Registry of Victims (RUV) of Colombia, with cut-off as of February 1, 2019, reveal that of 2'348.540 girls, boys and adolescents included for various victimizing acts, 2'317.397 (that is, 98.6 % ) are victims of displacement and, of these, 1,041,993 (45 %) are adolescent girls and boys. (Fundación PLAN, 2019, data repository, Data on the situation of the armed conflict in Colombia. With cut-off date: 02/01/2019).
  • As of the same date, according to the National Information Network (RNI) of Colombia, 8,405,614 victims of the armed conflict have been registered, with displacement as the main victimizing act and that has left 7,457,949 victims. Of the total number of victims of the armed conflict, 4,205,808 (50 %) are women, while another 26 % (2'201,601) correspond to girls, boys and adolescents under 18 years of age (of these 1,070,095 are girls (48 , 6%).

The report “Childhood, victim of an armed conflict that still persists”, 2018, by the Alliance for Colombian Children, points out that forced displacement exacerbates sexual violence, early pregnancy and the reproduction of conditions of poverty and exclusion of women. The total average of early pregnancies between the ages of 12 and 17, according to the Ombudsman's Office (2008) amounted to 31.4 % for displaced women.

More information in: https://redlamyc.org/seminariointernacional02/

Media contact:

Verónica Morales, Regional Communication Officer #TejiendoRedesInfancia +52 1 55 5620 9309

Photo by laura adai on Unsplash

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