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 Peruâ€™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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