Peru plans to open emergency shelters for domestic violence victims

Minister of Women and Social Develepment Susana Pinilla announced plans to open 140 emergency shelters in 2008 for female victims of domestic violence. Pinilla made the announcement during the inauguration of an emergency shelter in Manchay, in Lima province. According to Agencia Andina, the Manchay shelter is Peru’s 67th emergency center.

“Peruvian women have to feel protected by the State,” said Pinilla. “They also have the obligation to bring charges in order to end the circle of violence that exists in families … We won’t allow family, sexual, verbal or psychological violence.”

Peru has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in Latin America. According to a 2005 study by the World Health Organization, 61 percent of women in rural Peru suffered violence by a male intimate partner, while almost 50 percent suffered extreme violence.

According to the Flora Tristán Centre for Peruvian Women, more than 50 percent of women in Lima had been victims of physical or sexual violence by their partner. This is partly the result of a culture of machismo that exists in Peru.

“Peru is one of the more violent countries,” Ivonne Macassi, the human rights coordinator at the Flora Tristán Center for Peruvian Women, told Enlace Nacional TV. “One of the fundamental reasons for this is the machismo attitude, the patriarchal culture that is still prevalent in our country, where women are often considered second-class citizens.”

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