Guatemala: Women Suffer From High Levels of Sexual Violence
Tuesday, February 22, 2011 9:10 PM

Sexual violence against women remains a serious problem in Guatemala. Last year, there were 46,000 domestic violence legal complaints. In a country of 14 million people, over 5,200 women were murdered between 2000 and 2010. In the last year alone, 680 women were victims of gender-related killings, known as “femicides.” This occurs in one of the most violent countries in the world; Guatemala has a murder rate of 52 per 100,000 population. Of all murders, 98 percent go unsolved, according to the United Nations-mandated International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG).

Women suffer other consequences as well. The director of a women’s rights organization called the Survivors Foundation illuminated the high price of reporting the violence, which results in many women being forced to leave their homes in order to avoid further violence from their partners. Victims also have to deal with challenges such as financial difficulties, post-traumatic stress, and legal disputes.

However, some small progress has been achieved. The National Coordinator for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Violence Against Women (CONAPREVI) is a government body working to provide assistance to victims as well as to educate society on the seriousness of sexual violence. The director of CONAPREVI noted some success, saying, “today the problem has credibility, its existence is recognized, we have a law against femicide, the institutions are creating mechanisms to tackle the issue, and women are reporting more cases.”

Compiled from: Surviving the Sexist Genocide in GuatemalaIPS News, 8 February 2011.