Peru: Civil War Reparations Extend to More Victims of Sexual Violence

After six years of limiting reparations for sexual violence only to victims of rape, Peruvian congress recently passed a law making victims of other forms of sexual violence eligible for civil war reparations. According to Peru’s truth and reconciliation commission, the newly recognized forms of sexual violence – including sexual slavery, forced abortion, forced prostitution and kidnapping –  were widespread during the twenty-year conflict.
 
The law will extend reparations to at least 500 more women, who now will be eligible for monetary compensation and free healthcare, therapy, and even education, since many women who experienced sexual violence during the civil war were not able to continue school.
 
Peruvian women’s rights organizations, such as Demus, lobbied for reform in the reparations law for years.  Such organizations are lauding the changes, noting that in addition to improving justice for specific victims, they raise awareness of the hidden gender inequalities endemic in Peruvian society and help to combat the pervasive, misogynistic thinking that views women’s bodies as objects to be controlled and abused.
 
However, women’s rights organizations note that the government should do more, such as including forced sterilization and forced pregnancy under the definition of “sexual violence,” speeding up the reparations process for victims, and providing a public apology for human rights abuses suffered during the conflict.
 
Compiled from: Mattia Cabitza, “Peru Widens Civil War Compensation for Victims of Sexual Violence,” The Guardian (28 June 2012).