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News > Paraguay

Paraguay's Boys and Girls March to Protest Sexual Abuse, Rapes

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    Banners read "Don't be indifferent, children are victims of abuses and the State would not do anything." | Photo: EFE

Published 2 June 2019

According to the Public Ministry, a total of 985 complaints were filed during the last four months.

Hundreds of children and teenagers took to the streets of the Paraguayan capital Asuncion on Sunday, to protest against the impunity surrounding cases of sexual abuse and rapes in the country. 

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They tried to convince the population to join their struggle, performing street theater, songs, holding drawings and banners that read "Don't be indifferent, children are victims of abuses and the State would not do anything."

Officially, the country registers 2,608 cases of sexual abuses of underage children since the beginning of 2019, a six percent raise as compared with the same period last year.

Last month, authorities recorded a total of 730 cases. 

Protesters demand integral sex education in high schools, specific public policies directed to children and teenagers, the end of judicial impunity, and better protection for indigenous and rural women. 

On March last year, the death of a 14-year-old rape victim during childbirth put the spotlight on the country’s high levels of sexual violence against girls and its strict abortion law. But the outrage was never translated into policies.

In Paraguay, two births a day occur among girls aged 10 to 14 in a country of 6.8 million, and many are the result of sexual abuse by relatives and stepfathers, according to rights groups. Abortion, in the majority Catholic nation, is only allowed when the mother’s life is in danger, otherwise, it is a crime.

Paraguay’s severe abortion law made world headlines in 2015 when authorities denied a pregnant 10-year-old an abortion after she was allegedly raped by her stepfather.

Latin America and the Caribbean has some of the world’s most restrictive abortion laws, including six countries that have an outright ban.

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