Demands for free healthcare for sex abuse victims

By bogotapost July 29, 2015
Colombia sex abuse victims, Nobel peace prize laureates Colombia

From left to right: Mairead Maguire, Shirin Ebadi, Jody Williams, Tawakkol Karman, and Rigoberta Menchu.

Six female Nobel Peace Prize Laureates write letter to Constitutional Court urging a ruling making healthcare free for Colombia’s victims of sex abuse

A lawsuit filed in the Colombian Constitutional Court demanding that women who suffered sexual abuse have free access to health care has received the support of six female Nobel Peace Prize winners, according to reports.

The suit, filed by five NGOs – Women’s Link Worldwide, Dejusticia, Corporacion Humanas, Roundtable for the Life and Health of Women, and Casa de la Mujeres – on behalf of hundreds of thousands of registered sexual abuse victims, alleges they have not been receiving the mandatory care originally promised to them in a 2012 health care protocol.

Of the 480,000 victims reported in the last three years, 40 percent have not had any access to health care during a time when Colombian women are experiencing violence of “epidemic proportions”.

According to the protocol the health system must actively look for the victims, give them information about their rights and take care of them both physically and psychologically in a dignifying way.

The six Nobel Laureates criticised the optional nature of the health protocol in some parts of the country, in a letter to the Constitutional Court.

“It not only eliminates a standard of protection for survivors of sexual abuse but can also increase the obstacles they already face when they apply for health care services,” the letter states.

The Laureates who signed the letter include American Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1997; Ireland’s Mairead Maguire (1976); Guatemalan Rigoberta Menchu (1992); Iranian Shirin Ebadi (2003); Liberia’s Leymah Gbowee (2011); and Yemeni Tawakkol Karman (2011).

In Colombia, a woman is the victim of a violent act every 13 minutes, and every four days one is killed by her partner, according to Presidential Adviser for Women’s Equality, Martha Ordoñez.

By Maddie Elder