Sexual abuse and violence are a critical problem worldwide, but even more critical is the knowledge that the vast majority of abuse occurs at home and is perpetrated by a member of the same family; it is disturbing that victims cannot feel safe in their own homes, with the people they should trust the most.
For years it has been registered that 70% of the reported cases of abuse were committed at home, and it was recently confirmed that of the reported cases, 30% are perpetrated by stepfathers or grandfathers, 13% by uncles, 11% by biological parents, 10% by cousins, and 3% by siblings. (El Universo, 2021)
In Mexico, according to La Jornada, more than 4.5 million child victims are registered every year. And what is worse, is that the huge figure is still unrealistic, as the percentage of abuses that are reported is very low and does not come close to the real statistics.
Most cases of abuse are reported in children and women, and are mostly perpetrated by adult men. In 2020 in Latin America, the percentage of women who reported having been subjected to forced sex by their partners ranged from 5% to 47% depending on the country, but those numbers have risen exponentially since the quarantine began.
For many women and children, there was a greater danger inside their own homes than there was outside. In the study “Violentadas en cuarentena” (victims of violence during quarantine), carried out by the Digital Platform Distintas Latitudes, it was reported that, since the pandemic started, during the first 11 days of quarantine there was a 39% increase in calls to the authorities for abuse and domestic violence in Argentina; in Chile the increase was of 70%. (Connectas.org, 2020)
In many Latin American countries, in addition to the psychological burden of reporting abuse, many people are deterred from doing so by the knowledge that the aggressor is likely to go unpunished or that a trial will not even take place, as the country does not always have or allocate the necessary resources to handle the issue of sexual abuse.
This problem, as well as the shame of reporting, and other emotional conflicts that abuse entails, could be faced little by little if the people who have gone through this situation join movements that listen to their voices and tell their story. Organizations that promote these types of movements are responsible for making more and more noise, so that governments listen, so that laws can improve, so that the system supports the victims.
One of the current movements that support people who have lived or are living this type of trauma is #ISayNoMore. To learn more about us find the multiple options we have to get involved with the movement and make your voice heard.
Abuse is a problem all around the world for people of different ages and genders, but it is unacceptable that most cases happen in spaces that should be safe and trusted. This is why it is of utmost relevance that, as far as possible, we take part in the movements that are taking place, that we encourage reporting, that we make our contribution however small it may feel. All help is welcome for those who suffer from this situation, as they need all the support both social and psychological to move forward.
You can be part of the change, join this movement on behalf of yourself or hundreds of victims who have not been able to find their voice to speak out against this scourge.