Living free from violence is a human right, yet millions of women and girls suffer disproportionately from violence both in peace and in war, at the hands of the state, in the home and community. Across the globe, women are beaten, raped, mutilated, and killed with impunity.
Femicide in Guatemala is an extremely serious problem. Guatemala has the third highest rate of femicide in the world, with only El Salvador and Jamaica having higher rates. Perpetrators are confident they will get away with murder, in part because of the “machismo” culture in Latin America. This culture allows women to be treated as objects rather than humans; equality and basic rights granted to men are not even in question for women. Rape culture and victim blaming are the tactics that go along with machismo, and both men and women largely agree with the misogynistic tendencies that have survived for so long
Additionally, Sexual violence is widespread in Guatemala, but unfortunately, survivors of sexual violence are stigmatized and they cannot easily find treatment in Guatemala yet. There are no resources and too little comprehension of patients’ needs by the doctors. Many survivors are adolescent girls, leading to Guatemala having the highest teen pregnancy and preteen rates in Latin America. Girls as young as 10 years old are impregnated by rape and give birth. Most of these instances of sexual violence are perpetrated by the girl’s father or other close male relative. These men do not suffer consequences largely because of the lack of education and proper punishment.
Moreover, Women who work as public activists, such as human rights defenders, including activists working to protect land and natural resources, face violence, threats, reprisal, and illegal arrests. The importance of women’s rights and gender equality should not be underestimated.
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