Sexual violence endemic in Ortega’s Nicaragua
Summary of story from the Guardian, November 5, 2011
Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega is set to win a second consecutive term of office despite endemic levels of sexual violence against women in the country and intimidation of female activists.
“To talk about sexual violence in Nicaragua is to talk against Daniel Ortega,” says Juanita Jimenez of the Women’s Autonomous Movement, an open critic of the government.
“This affects the daily life of women and girls, it’s not just a problem for the feminist movement. It is so difficult now to report sexual abuse. There is no proper procedure.”
Under previous governments, the police worked with women’s organizations to prevent gender based violence, but are now encouraged to reunite abuse victims with their families instead of removing the victim and charging the perpetrators.
Ortega’s government has also shut down all funding for prevention and support to victims of sexual abuse which is endemic in Nicaragua.
Prominent women’s rights activists have been subject to arbitrary state investigations in which documents and equipment have been seized. There is also growing animosity from the media which refers to them as witches, man-haters and abortion profiteers.
Ortega’s heroic sheen was first tarnished in 1998 when his stepdaughter Zoilamérica Narváez accused him of years of sexual abuse. Ortega has always denied the allegations, but in 2002 the government paid a settlement to Narváez.