A Colombian police report has claimed to shed light on the appalling treatment of women within the FARC, detailing forced sexual obligations, forced abortions and the spread of sexual diseases, newspaper El Tiempo reported Monday.
The Colombian police have apparently compiled a long list of sexual abuses against women recruited by the FARC, sourced from the testimony of the 112 women who have deserted the FARC so far in 2011, as well as various documents and computer files seized in army operations against the guerrilla group.
The report explains how alias “Canaguaro” put four girls through the “test” of forcing them to have sex with him in 2008, in exchange for not being punished. He apparently infected them with syphillis as a result.
Alias “Cadete,” meanwhile, has even more of a reputation for wanting to “force and abuse all the girls” under his command in the FARC, according to the ex-guerrilla Armando Cufino, alias “Walter Zorra,” who recently demobilized after 20 years in the FARC, purportedly due to the abuses against his female companions.
“The women can not have the freedom to look for a male companion because “Cadete” uses them all. The man is a sexual predator,” Walter Zorra is quoted as saying.
According to the report, young girls between 13 and 15 years of age are targeted for recruitment by the FARC, with each front required to fulfill a “quota” of women because apparently “The women are [considered] necessary to maintain the discipline of the FARC,” said a police investigator.
“We have discovered this in the analysis of the seized material, but above all [they are necessary] to maintain the internal cohesion of the guerrillas, as sexual objects, as symbols of respect and order, and at the time of committing terrorist attacks, as the most determined to do it,” continued the official.
Among the 112 female deserters in 2011, 57 did so to search for their children who they gave birth to in the jungle but were subsequently forced to give away by the FARC.
Yet the children who survived could be considered lucky given the alleged high rate of forced abortions within the FARC. Some 80 to 90% of the demobilized ex-FARC women had been forced to have at least one abortion, with some having had up to four.
Citing a widespread lack of condom use, something that contributes to the “high number of women infected with sexually transmitted diseases,” the report indicates that the FARC’s only method of birth control is through abortion. This happens, so says the report, at any point in the gestation period, with several women claiming abortions up to seven months into their pregancy.
The conditions regarding the treatment of pregnancies and the lack of motherhood prospects were reported as a driving force behind the desertions of every one of the 112 ex-FARC women this year.
Life in the FARC for women is not necessarily so bleak, however, as the police report also details the women who have gained significant status within the FARC, with some holding the economic reins of entire FARC columns.
Typically these women are known as the female companion of FARC commanders, such as deceased leader “Manuel Marulanda”‘s companion alias “Sandra,” who is said to manage the finances of the Eastern Bloc.
“It is the other side of the coin. [There are] Women that have achieved a status within the FARC and are treated differently to the lower female guerrillas who have up to seven romantic partners or companions, in one year, without counting that they have to be available for the boss of the front,” said the police investigator.
A police psychologist treating the FARC deserters said that the involvement of these top women in the abuse and maltreatment of women can often be the most traumatic element of their experiences.