Improving Health and Promoting Women’s Rights
Project: Violence against Women in Peru: Improving Health and Promoting Women’s Rights
Location: Peru, Huancavelica, Ica and Lima regions
DEMUS (Institute for the Defence of Women’s Rights)
FEPROMU (Ica Women’s Federation)
Movimiento El Pozo (the ‘El Pozo’ Movement)
Many women in Peru have suffered severe violence and discrimination which have impacted greatly on their health and access to basic services. During the civil war 1980-2000 sexual violence against women was used as a war tactic. Entrenched beliefs about women’s roles have limited women’s control over their own bodies and decision-making processes. Compared to men, women also have less access to information about reproductive health and HIV prevention. This limits their capacity to negotiate safe sex in their relationships.
What Womankind is doing
With funding from the Big Lottery Fund we are working with 3 partners in three different communities of vulnerable women to address:
- The aftermath of sexual violence during the conflict in the Manta region
- Violence linked to the growing incidence of HIV/AIDS amongst young women in the Ica region
- Violence linked to prostitution and trafficking of women in the capital city of Lima
With our partners we are:
- Providing survivors of sexual violence with psychological support and legal assistance
- Promoting HIV and AIDS and advocating the incorporation of HIV prevention as a strategy in its policies
- Supporting 44 young people to become promoters of issues around gender and HIV/AIDS
- Supporting women in prostitution via counselling, group reflection, and self help
- Reducing trafficking of women into prostitution through awareness raising activities and operating a helpline for vulnerable women
What we have achieved so far
- Over the last 3 years the project has contributed to the overall well-being of 2,785 women and girls through provision of capacity building sessions on women rights and self esteem, psychological counselling, legal advice and support, support in lobbying activities for an improvement of violence against women policies and services
- Movimiento El Pozo successfully managed to sign a formal agreement with the Ministry of Education (more specifically with Lima´s Education Management Unit,UGEL) institutionalizing training programs on sexual trafficking for teachers and students as a part of schools’ curriculum for 2011/12, with strong possiblities to be re-newed. Thanks to this agreement educational communities will increase their knowledge on prostitution, trafficking, sexual exploitation and human rights.
- In Ica, our partner FEPROMU successfully lobbied for a regional by-law on the prevention of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), HIV and/or AIDS for children and adolescents which was introduced in June 2009. In December 2010 FEPROMU managed to get the Regional Government to approve an Action Plan to implement the by-law between 2011 and 2013
“People abuse their wives and abuse their children … The acts of violence keep on being committed. We need to be able to talk about what happened, so that the violence will stop”.
As a child, Carmela, now 28, witnessed dreadful violence that occurred in Manta. She was ten when the military entered her village; her mother and other family members were beaten and ill treated. She was forced to leave school due to fear.
She told us that domestic violence is extremely common in Manta. The fact that those responsible for sexual violence during the conflict have not been punished has sent a clear and terrible message to the community: that violence is an acceptable and normal part of life.