Over 17% of Colombia’s 3.4 million forcibly displaced citizens fled their homes due to sexual violence perpetrated by illegal armed groups, according to a UN report.
At least 50% of displaced women in Colombia were victims of sexual assault; however, only 10% have taken their cases to court, according to the non-governmental Observatory on Gender, Democracy and Human Rights.
“They are taboo and complex subjects because it is not easy for a woman who has been raped to speak and report [about it] in the context of an armed conflict because the risks of re-victimization increases revenge,” said Saskia Loochkartt — the humanitarian affairs officer for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Colombia.
According to the UNHCR report, rape is not the only form of sexual violence being committed against women. Forced sterilizations as well as instances of armed groups forcing women to run naked through villages to make fun of them were included in the report.
There are also documented cases that the FARC controlled local prostitution to finance the guerrilla movement.
“The levels of perversion that have been reached are really terrible,” said Loochkartt.
The UNHCR officer warned that the main enemy of Colombian women is the home, citing that 80% of rapes occur in the household.