Peace for Whom? Legacies of Gender-Based Violence in Peru


Boesten, Jelke. 2019. "Peace for Whom? Legacies of Gender-Based Violence in Peru." In Politics after Violence: Legacies of the Shining Path Conflict in Peru, edited by Hillel David Soifer and Alberto Vergara. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Author: Jelke Boesten


"In August 2016, a multitude of women, their families, and their friends took to the streets of Lima to protest the high levels of violence against women in Peru and the impunity routinely accorded to the perpetrators of this violence. Never before had so many Peruvians protested violence against women, even if there had been ample reason to do so. In this chapter, I will explore why this mass mobilization happened at this particular point in time by examining the extent to which the violence against women in 2016 might be interpreted as a legacy of the violence of the Internal Armed Conflict (IAC) or as a result of persistent historical structures of violence and inequity. I also consider whether the contemporary response to such violence from both civil society activists and the state should be seen in light of the continuous battles over truth, justice, and reconciliation. In exploring the hypothesis that the contemporary violence against women is a legacy of a much longer history of violence and inequality, I will focus in particular on what aspects might be seen as a sequel to the Internal Armed Conflict. I will ask if high levels of peacetime violence might be seen as either a wartime mechanism or a post-conflict legacy. To examine this, I draw from my research in the archives of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and other sources for my book Sexual Violence during War and Peace: Gender, Power, and Post-Conflict Justice in Peru (2014). But I am also interested in exploring how the lack of justice and visibility regarding cases of conflict-related violence against women contrasts with the more recent mobilization of hundreds of thousands of people to protests against continuous high levels of violence against women. I argue that perhaps historic cases are too politically and socially divisive to work as examples that promote broader gender justice; instead, it may be that the struggle against the everyday violence women and girls experience across lines of class, ethnicity, geography, and age has finally found its historic momentum, with capable activists to lead the way and a political opportunity to rise to the challenge of demanding justice and social change" (Boesten 2019, 297-98).

Topics: Age, Armed Conflict, Civil Society, Class, Ethnicity, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Justice, Impunity, TRCs, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence, Violence Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Peru

Year: 2019

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