Target: Colombian Government
Goal: Protect abused, displaced women and girls in Colombia through more effective implementation of laws
Colombia’s laws and policies regarding violence against women are not sufficiently protecting displaced women and girls, as is their intended purpose. Women who are victims of civil war and violence in the area have greater odds of being attacked violently or sexually, and holes in the criminal code do not adequately defend these women.
According to a report by the Human Rights Watch, there are two million displaced women and girls that are vulnerable to rapes, sexual assault and domestic violence. Although Colombian laws specifically address violence against women, there is a disconnect between the intended purpose of these laws and actual implementation of them. There is growing concern that these policies must more effectively allow displaced victims to obtain justice, adequate healthcare and protection.
“For many displaced women and girls, the hardships of displacement are compounded by the trauma of rape and domestic violence,” explained Amanda Klasing of Human Rights Watch, “And despite good laws and policies that have been enacted in recent years, they still face enormous difficulty in getting the medical attention they’re entitled to. And, they rarely see their abusers brought to justice.”
Women who are assaulted or abused, more often than not, must overcome numerous obstacles in order to get the care they need. To obtain necessary medical treatment after a sexual or violent attack, often women are forced to wait weeks before given an exam or any medical care.
A 2011 survey conducted by the Colombian government identified nearly 48 percent of displaced women had experienced domestic assault, and 9 percent reported being raped. These numbers are higher than the national averages, displaying the increased vulnerability of displaced women and the need for more effective protection for these women.
In order to protect displaced women, the government of Colombia must actively make changes to its current laws concerning violence against women to address the displaced female population. There is a bill currently up for consideration that would facilitate access to healthcare and proper prosecution for victims of violence, with an emphasis on women displaced by conflict.
The bill would amend the criminal code, updating policies regarding domestic and sexual violence and aligning them with global standards and human rights laws. Sign below to encourage the Colombian government to protect displaced women and girls by passing this bill.
Dear Government of Colombia,
Current legislation protecting women and girls from acts of sexual violence and domestic abuse is encouraging. However, data shows there is a significant drop-off between the ideals outlined in the laws and policies, and the application of these laws.
More specifically, females who have been displaced due to war and civil unrest experience higher rates of rape, sexual assault and domestic violence. Despite these higher rates of violence, there is a lesser chance of obtaining justice or healthcare in the event of an attack.
This is why the bill up for consideration is so imperative. Amanda Klasing of Human Rights Watch “The bill is crucially important as it would address major gaps in the existing law – gaps that enable humiliation of victims and impunity for perpetrators,” said .
Please pass this bill and take a stand for Colombian women.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Joaquin Sarmient via Reuters