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News > Latin America

Peru: Court Hands Down First Ever Sentence for Sexual Harassment

  • A demonstrator holds a sign saying

    A demonstrator holds a sign saying "the abuse is not just physical" during a protest against violence on women in Lima, Peru. | Photo: Reuters

Published 11 October 2018

Parizaca was captured in the cemetery of Puerto Maldonado where the girl’s mother summoned him after posing as her daughter.

Peruvian judicial officials sentenced a man to a prison term for aggravated sexual harassment for the first time this week. Edwar Alex Parizaca Puma, 22, received a suspended three year and six-month sentence for the crime, which often goes unpunished.


Peru Women Still Victims of Political Gender Gap

According to the ruling, Parizaca will also pay civil damages to the victim, a teenaged girl, and is expected to comply with a series of strict rules during the duration of his sentence.

The sentence was requested by the criminal prosecutor because Parizaca made indecent proposals over Facebook towards a 15-year-old girl.

He used a fake Facebook account with the name 'Jimi Castro de la Vega' and approached the girl, who is considered a minor under the law, offering her money and other inducements.

Parizaca was captured in the cemetery of Puerto Maldonado where the girl’s mother summoned him after posing as her daughter.

A global study published by Plan International Australia, which interviewed young women and girls in Delhi, Kampala, Lima, Madrid, and Sydney, revealed Thursday that many feel unsafe due to increasing incidents of abuse and harassment.

In its latest findings, the humanitarian group said indifference and inaction lead many girls and young women to blame themselves for abuse and harassment.

The report is based on more than 21,000 testimonials of girls and young women in cities of India, Australia, Peru, Spain, and Uganda; and found that in all five places, "boys and men grope, chase, stalk, leer at, verbally insult, and flash girls and young women."

The New York Times reported in May that since 2009, the number of men accused of killing women has quadrupled according to government statistics in Peru. In 85 percent of those cases, the victim was a current or former wife, girlfriend or partner.


10,000 Victims of Child Sex Abuse in Peru

Peru has a criminal statute for “femicide,” the term used to describe the killing of a woman or girl because of her gender, and other gender-based crimes. However, many women have accused the country's judicial system, of granting impunity to offenders due to delays, poor judgments and a failure to consider some evidence.

In one controversial case in 2015, Adriano Pozo, an abusive man, escaped punishment despite being recorded on hotel security cameras attacking his female partner, Arlette Contreras.

“I’m going to make love to you,” he told her, according to court papers. When she refused, he said, “Then I will rape you.”

At that point, Pozo pushed her to the floor, according to court records. He choked her as she tried to resist, a medical report found. He also allegedly threatened to kill her.

Contreras, a young lawyer, managed to escape from the hotel room. But Pozo, who was naked, chased her down to the lobby and dragged Contreras by her hair as a hotel worker tried but failed to end the assault.

At trial, a panel of three judges, two of them men, concluded that they “had not observed in the accused hatred or rancor toward women.” On appeal, judges also acquitted Pozo.

“If in my case I can’t find justice, I don’t want to even imagine what happens behind closed doors, in a dark room with no witnesses or cameras,” Contreras said.

Instead of punishing her perpetrator, at the urging of Pozo’s lawyers, the prosecutors in Ayacucho had asked that the survivor be jailed for three years for alleged fraudulent documents regarding her employment status.  

The ruling in Contreras’s case led thousands to take to the streets in 2016 under the slogan Ni Una Menos (not one less), which has become a rallying cry in the region to confront gender-based violence.

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