El Salvador: Street Gangs Rape and Kill Women and Girls with Impunity
Friday, November 28, 2014 4:40 PM

Rampant gang violence in El Salvador has exposed women and girls to increasing levels of physical and sexual violence. Warring street gangs target, kidnap, rape and kill women and girls with impunity, making it extremely dangerous for young girls to leave home even to walk to school. Advocates who assist immigrants seeking asylum in the United States say they have recently seen an “exponential increase” in the number of women and girls fleeing sexual violence in El Salvador.

As reported by the Associated Press, the government of El Salvador is “incapable of offering protection” to victims or their families and rarely enforces laws against domestic violence and rape. Additionally, victims and their relatives fear violent retaliation by gang members if they report an incident to the police or pursue criminal charges against perpetrators. Many girls and women have been surrounded by rape and violence since childhood and do not know to report it as a crime, according to the human rights group FESPAD in El Salvador. El Salvador has the second highest femicide rate in the world.

Compiled from: The Associated Press, El Salvador’s Horrifying Culture of Gang Rape, New York Post (November 6, 2014); Lakhani, Nina, Gang violence in El Salvador fueling country’s migration crisis, The Guardian (November, 18, 2014).