Rape and Domestic Violence: The law criminalizes rape, including spousal rape, with penalties of six to eight years in prison. Femicide is a crime and carries a minimum sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment for those convicted of killing a woman if she is an immediate relative, spouse, or partner. The law establishes sentences of up to life in prison when the victim is a minor, pregnant, or has a disability. Enforcement of these laws, however, was often ineffective.
The law prohibits domestic violence, and penalties range from one month to six years in prison. The law also authorizes judges and prosecutors to prevent the convicted spouse or parent from returning to the family home and authorizes the victim’s relatives and unrelated persons living in the home to file complaints of domestic violence. It also allows health professionals to document injuries. The law requires a police investigation of domestic violence to take place within five days of a complaint and obliges authorities to extend protection to female victims of domestic violence. Enforcement of these laws, however, was lax.
Civil society experts claimed that persons significantly underreported rape and domestic violence complaints, due to stigma, mistreatment, weak confidence in the authorities, and a fear of retribution, including further violence. Studies showed that only 27 percent of women age 18 or more who suffered an attack reported it, and most reports did not result in proper sanctions.
Violence against women and girls--including rape, spousal abuse, and sexual, physical, and psychological abuse--remained serious national problems. As of September the Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations documented 38,567 cases of violence against women, an 18 percent increase from 2015. Through September the Ministry of Women also reported 85 femicides, compared with 64 in 2015 (a 33 percent increase), and 171 femicide attempts, compared with 124 in 2015 (a 38 percent increase). The Women’s Ministry also reported that 70 percent of women had suffered at least one incident of serious physical or psychological abuse. Additionally, the ombudsman found that 40 percent of police stations did not have adequate facilities to interview victims and the majority of police officers and prosecution office personnel did not have specialized training in the treatment of abused women. In one particularly emblematic case, in September a 15-year-old girl in the city of Ayacucho died two days after four assailants, two of whom were minors, raped her. The police captured all four assailants who were in detention awaiting trial.
The Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations operated the Women’s Emergency Program. The program consisted of 238 service centers with police, prosecutors, counselors, and public welfare agents to help victims of domestic abuse. The program also addressed the legal, psychological, social, and medical problems of victims. NGOs expressed concerns about the program’s quality and quantity, particularly in rural areas. In addition, the ministry operated a toll-free hotline and implemented projects to sensitize government employees and the citizenry to domestic violence.
The government continued through its national program against family and sexual violence to provide technical assistance to regional governments to support temporary shelters in nine of 25 regions. NGOs and members of Congress stated there were not enough shelters for victims of domestic violence and trafficking in persons.
On August 13, thousands of persons, representing a broad cross section of the population, joined the “Ni Una Menos” (Not One Woman Less) peaceful, nation-wide march to protest violence against women. Between 50,000 and 200,000 persons marched in Lima, including domestic violence survivors, civil society organizations, celebrities, President Kuczynski, ministers, and members of Congress.
On August 9, the judiciary created a Gender Justice Commission composed of women judges responsible for promoting a gender justice perspective within the judiciary. The judiciary also created 24 jurisdictional bodies to address exclusively domestic violence cases.
Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment was a serious problem. In 2015 Congress approved a law that criminalizes sexual harassment in public spaces. Under this law sexual harassment is defined as unsolicited comments, actions, and touching of a sexual nature that is unwanted by the female or male victim. Sexual harassment in the workplace, however, is not a criminal offense. Instead, workplace harassment is a labor rights violation subject to administrative punishment. The law defines sexual harassment poorly, according to NGOs, and government enforcement was minimally effective. There were no available statistics on sexual harassers prosecuted, convicted, or punished.
Reproductive Rights: Couples and individuals have the right to decide the number, spacing, and timing of their children; manage their reproductive health; and have access to the information and means to do so, free from discrimination, coercion, or violence.
In August the Constitutional Court reversed the 2009 ban on emergency oral contraception in public-health policies, ordering the Ministry of Health to include the “morning after pill” in its reproductive health and family planning policies. The government accepted the decision and restarted the distribution of the pills in its health-care system in September.
In July the government issued a ruling that cleared jailed former president Alberto Fujimori and his health ministers of criminal responsibility for forced sterilizations in the late 1990s as part of a nationwide family planning program. The public prosecutor ruled that individual medical personnel were responsible for the isolated cases where women were sterilized without consent and recommended that five doctors be charged. Women’s rights activists protested against the ruling, which stated that the reproductive health and family planning program had not violated human rights as part of a state policy.
Discrimination: The law provides for equality between men and women and prohibits discrimination against women with regard to marriage, divorce, and property rights. While the law prohibits discrimination in employment and educational opportunities based on gender, there was a persistent underrepresentation of women in high-ranking positions, and the arbitrary dismissal of pregnant women and workplace discrimination remained common. The law stipulates that women should receive equal pay for equal work, but women often were paid less than men. The National Statistics Bureau estimated that as of September, women received on average 81 percent the average income of men.