Peru: Lesbians subjected to "corrective rape" to "cure" sexual preference
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Peru: Lesbians subjected to "corrective rape" to "cure" sexual preference

Kattia Montenegro is a 21-year-old student from the city of Arequipa in the south of Peru. She wasn’t very open about her sexuality, preferring to keep it quite low key.

“I’m going to send you to be raped, so that you become a woman.” were the spine-chilling words from the mouth of her own sister, the BBC reports.

Having sex with a man would “sweeten her up,” her sister hoped.

Despite Peruvian government insisting that rape cases are isolated and infrequent across the country, Margarita Díaz Picasso, CEO of Peru’s  Anti-Discrimination and Gender Equality branch of the ministry, dealing with women and vulnerable people in particular, disagrees.

“Sadly, this practice is recurrent.” she comments.

Punishment or correction?

“The proper term, corrective rape, was created from the idea of pressure, that everything which doesn’t meet with established norms should be punished: a heterosexual woman should submit to a man.” Maribel Reyes, national secretary for Peru’s LGBT network comments.

“I don’t think that by submitting lesbians processes it is aimed at changing their sexual preference, but rather, it’s a form of punishment.” she adds.

The report further adds how one family “friend” decided to help a youth based on her sexuality: she ended up pregnant from the rape.

Nothing new

Committing violent and humiliating acts against women is linked to “Machismo” culture across Latin America, associated with masculine pride and repression of the feminine.

Rape embodies the idea of possessing a woman: forcing her to succumb to a man’s strength.

“Men think that the act of penetrative sex is a corrective act, they do it because they think that lesbians have never experienced it.” Brenda Álvaez, legal assessor at Promsex, the Center for the Promotion and Defense of Sexual and Reproductive Rights concludes.

As sentences for rape crimes vary across Latin America, hundreds of women across Peru continue to slip through the net, punished due to their sexual orientation.

See also:

Raped, pregnant and denied a life-saving abortion – all at 10 years old

Paraguay: Minor denied abortion gives birth