Source: (2005) Human Rights Brief. 12(2/Winter): 1-4.

SEXUAL VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN is an expression of genderbased violence that affects thousands of women around the world during times of armed conflict, as well as in times of peace. Impunity and silence typically surround these cases. Many times, victims do not discuss what happened to them because of feelings of shame and guilt. In most cases, government authorities and some sectors of civil society do not consider sexual violence to be a human rights violation. Fortunately, international human rights instruments and judicial decisions have begun to define sexual violence as a violation of human rights and, in some contexts, as a crime against humanity or a war crime. The work of the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (PTRC) made important inroads in identifying sexual violence as a human rights violation. In its Final Report, the PTRC analyzed the situation of Peruvian women subjected to sexual violence during the armed conflict and countered the idea that it was simply a collateral damage of war. Asserting that sexual violence is a human rights violation, the PTRC established a record of the sexual violence that occurred during Peru’s 20 year armed conflict and recommended that the State institute a system of reparations for the victims. The Final Report of the PTRC, released on August 28, 2003, includes a chapter on sexual violence against women. This article presents its main findings.

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