Silence and Complicity: Violence Against Women in Peruvian Public Health Facilities (Book)

Peruvian women are being subjected to violence in that nation's government-run health facilities, say women lawyers who have documented cases of abuse throughout several geographical regions of the country. This investigative book reveals sexual and psychological violence against women who use public reproductive health and family planning services. The book was researched and written by the Center for Reproductive Rights and the Lima branch of the Comité Latinoamericano y del Caribe para la Defensa de la Mujer (CLADEM). "The findings of the investigation reveal the Peruvian government's lack of commitment to promoting and protecting women's human rights," says Luisa Cabal, a staff attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Silence and Complicity includes cases of rape, humiliating verbal abuse, and violations of women's reproductive autonomy, such as their right to informed consent. Attorneys for the Center for Reproductive Rights and CLADEM assert that under international law, the government of Peru is responsible for the acts of violence and other abuses committed by providers of public health services. The government is also responsible for the absence of effective mechanisms to prevent these acts, the systematic cover-up of violations, and the failure to punish those responsible through existing administrative and judicial channels.

Cases documented in the book demonstrate that abuse occurs predominantly against young women, women living in poverty, and women from rural areas or marginalized urban areas. "It is precisely these women who account for the extremely high rate of maternal mortality in Peru," says Cabal.