Sexual Violence against Minors in the Peruvian Jungles are on the Rise
Over the past three months, at least six cases of minors becoming pregnant as a result of rape have come to light. According to data from the Ministry of Health (MINSA), the jungle regions are reporting a higher number of child pregnancies.
According to a report by RPP Data on October 26, 2023, Episode 145, more than 800 girls under the age of 14 have become mothers so far this year, according to official records from the Ministry of Health in Peru.
Half of these cases have been reported in jungle regions like Loreto and Ucayali. The incidence of child sexual abuse has been increasing since 2017, as warned by Hugo Gonzalez, a representative of the United Nations Population Fund in Peru.
“In the jungle regions, there has been an increase in reports of sexual violence against minors. Pregnancy is the trigger that reveals that these girls have been exposed to such sexual abuse for extended periods,” he stated.
In Loreto, the number of girls under 15 who became mothers increased from 188 cases in 2019 to 203 in 2022, and in Ucayali, it went from 120 to 178 during the same time period.
RPP states this pattern tends to occur in regions with limited access to sexual and reproductive health services and prevention of violence, which affects the life prospects of these girls and adolescents.
Luisa Martinez, an official from UNICEF specializing in gender and development, explains,
“We are talking about situations that happen within homes, where the abusers are often family members, stepfathers, fathers, uncles, and this has a significant impact on their mental health. This is a stage in the lives of these girls where they are forming their identity and building their sense of life.”
Between January and August of this year, over 13,000 reports of sexual violence against minors have been made throughout the country, according to data from the Ministry of Women.
23% of these cases have been reported in the jungle.
There is a need for increased awareness through reporting channels and strengthening prevention policies in the health and education sectors, as indicated by Arcadia Maguinia, the health coordinator for Plan International.
“The population is not aware of their rights, which places them in greater vulnerability.”
Professionals are often not equipped with the information they are obligated to have. There is a need for comprehensive sexual education, but unfortunately, teachers are not adequately trained to provide it.”
The State must ensure the implementation of protocols for victim support and reporting, as well as sensitize professionals who deal with these cases, urgently preventing more instances of violence, asserted RPP.
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