This report reviewed more than 200 documents from the last ten years to assess why sexual violence is a prevalent problem throughout Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). In summation of the reports reviewed, between 5% and 47% of people will be raped by an intimate partner, and between 8% and 27% will experience sexual abuse by non-partners. Non-partners include parents, neighbors, friends, colleagues, priests, and teachers; and a small portion of the non-partners include a perpetrator who is a stranger.
In addition, this review is an assessment of the magnitude, patterns, and risk factors of sexual violence as well as the progress made in prevention and response to sexual violence. It finds that sexual violence in LAC is rooted in its patriarchal roots, social norms of acceptance, and the dynamics of power and control that the perpetrators exercise over the victims.
Though LAC was the first region to pass the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and it has programs to address sexual violence, sexual violence is still a serious problem as the programs continue to fail either because they are never implemented or they are not sustainable. Another major issue is that only 5% of adult sexual violence cases are reported, and this lack of reporting makes it difficult to address the issue.
The region has shown improvements in areas of policy and legal reform and in its prevention and response programs. While this review encompasses a large number of reports, the reports themselves are largely focused on Brazil and Mexico. This report will hopefully be the first step toward documenting sexual violence in every country, especially in the remote rural areas where less research exists.
To access the full report in Spanish, click here. This report will be available in English and Portuguese by October 2011. This report was produced by the Sexual Violence Research Initiative (SVRI), in partnership with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Ipas.
Compiled from: Sexual Violence in Latin America and the Caribbean: A Desk Review, Pan American Health Organization, (20 August 2010).