Colombia Conflict: “If I Keep Quiet, I Become an Accomplice”

3/5/2019

Yolanda Perea Mosquera is speaking in a convention center packed with 1,400 of the more than 8 million victims of the armed conflict in Colombia. They are survivors of crimes such as kidnapping, torture, forced displacement, and sexual assault. Ms Perea is also a survivor of the armed conflict. She was sexually assaulted by a Farc guerrilla when she was 11 years old and became pregnant as a result of the attack. She miscarried when a group of Farc fighters beat her up.

Today, at the age of 35, Ms Perea lives in Medellín and has emerged as a spokeswoman for survivors of sexual violence across Colombia. She shares her story to help other victims understand what happened to them was wrong. She then helps them to report the assaults.

In Colombia, more than 90 percent of sexual violence cases currently go unpunished. However, the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, a tribunal which frames itself as a place for victims to have their stories heard, could change that. For example, last August, Ms Perea and representatives from two other victims' organizations brought 2,000 accounts of sexual violence to the attention of the tribunal.

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