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    Feminists perform "A Rapist in Your Way" in Santiago de Chile | Photo: AFP

Published 27 July 2020
Opinion

The initiative was announced after mobilizations took place in Chile to repudiate a judge's ruling on the legal case investigating the 20 years old Antonia Barra's sexual assault.

Chilean lawmakers Érika Olivera, Ximena Ossandón and Pamela Inés Moreno of the Renovación Nacional party presented a bill to declare the imprescriptibility of sexual crimes, to protect the victims, beyond the time that passes since the crime was committed.

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A communiqué from the party's bench in the House of Representatives explained that, in the initiative, the parliamentarians list some illegal acts such as kidnapping with rape, torture with rape, unlawful coercion, and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment with rape, among others.

The initiative was announced after mobilizations took place last Thursday in Chile to repudiate a judge's ruling on the legal case investigating the rape that Antonia Barra, 20, suffered at the hands of Martin Padrenas Durr, 20, last September in Pucón city, in the south of Chile.

On 13 October, the young woman committed suicide in the wake of the psychological aftermath of the rape. Pradenas Burr ended up being accused of two rapes and four sexual cases of abuse committed against five victims, some of them minors. However, in at least two instances, the crimes had already prescribed.

As for Barra, Pradenas Durr is awaiting a trial. Although the prosecution had requested pre-trial detention, he was granted home detention, which prompted the protests.

"@meganoticiascl highlighted the bill presented by @erikaoliverad and @nonaossandon, so those sex crimes are not prescribed regardless of the age of the victim."

In this regard, representative Olivera stressed that establishing the imprescriptibility of sexual crimes and rapes would be an act of justice for Antonia as for all those mothers, daughters, and grandmothers who deserve to be respected in their privacy.

"Despite the changes made in this area over the years, there are still enormous gaps that fail to provide full protection and reparation for them," said Olivera, one of the bill's authors.

Lawmaker Ossandón, also the author of the draft legislation, added that the project seeks to end a social burden that often prevents women from telling their experiences at the very moment of rape or abuse, and gives them space to denounce beyond the time of legal prescriptions since the time limitation has become a barrier for many women who wait even decades to tell about some denigration they have experienced.

The initiative signed by the three Chilean lawmakers proposes the amendment of articles 94 bis of the Criminal Code so that sexual offenses are not subject to a statute of limitations, regardless of the age of the victim and not only in cases involving minors.

It also claims for the reform of article 175 of the Procedural Penal Code, to include an addition that establishes that employers, legal representatives, managers, heads of premises or work or any other person in charge of workers, whether they are directly hired or subordinate, will be obliged to report sexual crimes suffered by workers.

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