Global Violence Against Women

Peru Finally Complies with Sexual Assault Settlement

After close to two decades, a Peruvian woman raped by a doctor while she was seeking care at a local hospital will finally receive justice. The Peruvian government has at last complied with a settlement agreement reached by the parties after human rights groups filed a petition on the woman’s behalf with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

via Shutterstock
via Shutterstock

The woman, known as M.M., visited Carlos Monge Medrano Juliaca Public Hospital in 1996. She had been in a car accident a few months before, and at the time of the visit she complained she was suffering headaches and body pain. Instead of being treated or examined for her symptoms, the doctor drugged and raped her in the examination room. M.M. filed a criminal report after the incident, but hospital staff and police mistreated the case, and the judicial system dismissed it for lack of evidence in 1997.

Several human-rights groups, including the Center for Reproductive Rights, the Center for Justice and International Law, Latin American and Caribbean Committee for the Defense of Women’s Rights, and DEMUS (Estudio para la Defensa de los Derechos de la Mujer), filed a petition in 1998 on behalf of M.M. to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

“No woman should fear that she will be raped by a doctor entrusted to provide her with critical medical care, and no woman who suffers such deplorable treatment should have to wait this long for justice to be served,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “We commend the Peruvian government for accepting its responsibility for this young woman’s suffering and taking action to prevent this situation from being repeated.”

The March 2000 settlement requires the Peruvian government to provide financial reparations to the woman and to revoke the medical license of the rapist. The settlement also requires the State to admit it violated human rights under international law and to improve access to justice in cases of sexual violence. Last March, as a part of the settlement, Peru adopted a resolution that requires judges to be trained on gender and justice issue – but the resolution has yet to be implemented.

Media Resources: Center for Reproductive Rights 8/7/2014

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