Every day that passes, fifteen children and adolescents are sexually abused in Peru. Some are later killed. Buried. burned. Others survive to start a life of relentless pain. The case of the three-year-old girl outraged by Juan Antonio Enríquez García in Chiclayo reminded us of this tragedy. Every day, fifteen Peruvian minors must face the horror. The Government’s response to this problem has been to present a bill to apply chemical castration to rapists of people over 14 years of age as soon as they have completed their sentence. According to experts, it is a measure that does not attack the substance of the matter.
First, says attorney Beatriz Ramírez, because the system has no way of ensuring that released aggressors go to get the injection that will decrease their libido. But more importantly, because sexual violations are not a problem of excess libido or uncontrollable sexuality. “Rapes are a problem of exercising power and taking advantage of people’s vulnerability,” says Ramírez. Experts like Susana Chávez, director of Promsex, and Rosa Vallejos, a Save the children specialist, have the same view. It is not a castration or death penalty issue. You have to go to the bottom of the problem. These are some of their proposals in the short and medium term.
1) Let it be known who the abusers are
According to Beatriz Ramírez, an expert lawyer on gender issues, to better protect our children, the Government could start by transferring a budget item to the Judiciary so that it launches the website of the National Registry of Convictions and, consequently, the under-registration of aggressors. , approved by law in 2018. In this way, anyone could enter that website and check if their daughter’s teacher or the condominium watchman, to give two examples, were ever convicted of homicide, family violence, rape and other sexual crimes.
Likewise, the Government could provide that the Ministry of the Interior provide the country’s police stations with the ability to respond to the rule, approved in 2020, which allows any citizen to request the police records of their partner and other family members to find out if were ever reported for violence or sexual crimes. Nothing complex. Only resources and political decision.
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2) Let’s process them quickly with specialized officials
The best way to deter a sex offender from committing his crime is not to promise him a long sentence. It is to show him that if he does it, he will quickly be caught and convicted. For this reason, Beatriz Ramírez considers that the Public Ministry and the Judiciary must continue to expand the prosecutor’s offices and courts specialized in violence against women and other family members. But, above all, the Ministry of the Interior must now create police specialization in this same matter. “With a specialized police, the investigation improves, the evidence improves and the probability of obtaining a conviction improves,” she says.
It’s good to get a conviction, but it’s better to do it quickly. And that can be achieved, says the lawyer, if the country’s judges apply the so-called “immediate process” to cases of sexual violation of minors when there is sufficient evidence. And if they correct the custom of not convicting a rapist or aggressor in the second instance when they discover that he had been incorrectly acquitted in the first instance. The judges, says Ramírez, could sentence him at that moment, but they prefer that everything return to zero. The processes become infinite. The victims spend years tied to a trial that only causes them pain.
3) Let’s educate children (and parents) on how to protect them
Susana Chávez, director of Promsex, says that there is a misunderstanding. In Peru, the high rates of rape cannot be explained because there are more “sick” men, “who cannot contain their instincts”, than in other countries. They are explained by gender inequality. And because there are many girls and adolescents in a vulnerable situation.
For this reason, he proposes that schools for parents be promoted in schools in which fathers and mothers are informed about the risk situations that must be avoided and the measures they can adopt to protect their offspring. And, dads, uncles, grandparents, be helped to change the traditional views on gender roles and the role of women.
Of course, you have to educate the boys. Rosa Vallejos, Save the Children’s Political Advocacy Coordinator, says that education with a gender focus and Comprehensive Sexual Education (ESI) can empower boys, girls and adolescents so that they are clear that no one can touch their body and that they can denounce by themselves any situation of violence.
The gender approach helps to internalize precepts of respect between boys and girls, eliminate sexist practices and that macho view that women are a sexual object with which future aggressors grow up, she says.
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4) Let us accompany the victims
Few experiences should be more atrocious in life than being the victim of rape, much worse if it is a boy or a girl.
Hell does not end when the culprit is locked up (if he is locked up). The impact on the lives of the victims is enormous and can last a long time, and the State is doing very little to make it more bearable.
For this reason, Susana Chávez considers that a care program for victims of sexual violence against minors should be created, which could be in charge of the Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations, but that is articulated with other sectors, such as the Ministries of Health and of Education, to ensure that they have not only legal assistance but also psychological assistance and that if they drop out of school, due to becoming pregnant, the conditions are created so that they can return as soon as possible. Having been raped and, even worse, having become pregnant, cannot mean the destruction of their lives.
5) Understand the problem and allocate resources to it
According to Rosa Vallejos, from Save the Children, today in Peru there is no single record of cases of violence against children and adolescents. The Ministry of Women has its figures. The Police have their own, as do the Public Ministry and the Judiciary. Today we do not know how many children have been violated to date, what is the age range with the most cases, in which regions the problem is more serious. We do not know how many cases of violence against minors began with a police report and ended with an effective conviction.
Having a registry with all this information would allow, says Vallejos, to understand the problem much better and clearly identify the risk factors. It would also help direct resources more efficiently. Resources that, according to the specialist, must necessarily be increased.
We want to give thanks to the author of this post for this outstanding material
Ideas to combat the horror