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TODAY COLOMBIA — Colombia’s government on Friday claimed that more than a million girls have been victimized in the country’s armed conflict between 1985 and 2014.

The story of ‘Yolanda’

The story of Yolanda (a false name to protect the victim) illustrates the environment of impunity for armed actors.

 

In July 2005, the 11-year-old girl was stopped by a soldier on her way home from school in a rural area of Saravena in the Arauca state, near the border with Venezuela. This was not the first time the soldier solicited sex from Yolanda, but this time he forcibly took her captive and raped her.

 

When Yolanda’s family reported the case to the office of the inspector general the local prosecutor rejected the allegation, claiming that Yolanda’s mother invented the story.

 

The army offered the family money to withdraw the accusation. Meanwhile, when he learned of the allegation, the soldier began to threaten the family over the phone.

 

The family ultimately fled their home in order to protect themselves and their daughter in particular.

Most of the minors were forcibly displaced, while thousands of others were threatened, raped, beaten or killed. Other girls witnessed murders or lost their family to the violence.

According to data from the National Information Network, it’s the girls between 11 and 17 who suffered the most compared with other age groups.

“Repair to children and adolescents is critical for building a more just future. It is our responsibility to create conditions for their tomorrow and they can unfold in a society with less rancor and more willingness to peace building. We are moving forward on that path, “said the director of the governmental Victims Unit, Paula Gaviria Betancur.

A report released by Oxfam International in March concluded that some 48,915 minors have been victims of sexual violence during the course of Colombia’s armed conflict. 

Conducted between 2008 and 2012, the study collected information from 1,070 of the country’s 1,130 municipalities, with the goal of understanding sexual violence in the context of civil war and evaluating Colombia’s records on the subject.

Of these almost 49,000 victims, only 7,609 were male victims.

The report claimed, moreover, that many acts of sexual violence have become normalized to the point where they are no longer considered crimes or even wrong, by neither the perpetrator or the victim.

Angela Robledo told Colombia Reports last year that “what is happening in Colombia with regard to sexual violence against women is impunity, as demonstrated by our reports, as demonstrated by Amnesty International, as demonstrated by human rights organizations.”

 

The post appeared first on Colombia News.


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