Rape and sexual abuse are widespread in Nicaragua. More than two thirds of reports to police from 1998 to 2008 involved girls under the age of 17. Many girls do not speak out, fearing that they will be blamed. Many also do not receive the support they need to recover and seek justice. Instead, most girls suffer in silence.
Amnesty International has met with many survivors of sexual violence in Nicaragua and we wanted to provide an avenue for them to share their stories and speak out. We have launched a new website: www.amnesty.ca/endsexualviolence which includes the stories of survivors and women’s rights advocates, as well as more information on access to justice, shelters, and support in Nicaragua.
We are also inviting our members and supporters to take a second essential action of sending a much needed message of solidarity to women and girls in Nicaragua, by creating a virtual butterfly. We chose the butterfly image because of our work with women’s rights defenders in Nicaragua. Martha Munguía, the Executive Coordinator of the Nicaraguan Alliance of Women’s Centres told Amnesty International,
“For us, the butterfly is a symbol of the desires to realise our dreams, to spread our wings and multiply into so many women and girls that can fly like butterflies from one place to another, from one country to another, fighting with strength for our rights.”
Individuals can use the online tool to create a butterfly message that Amnesty International will deliver to the women and girls of Nicaragua for them to use in demonstrations in September.
This year is Amnesty International’s 50th Anniversary, and we are focusing on ending sexual violence against girls in Nicaragua as a global action for our members around the world. More details on our global campaigns is available on our new website: www.AI50.ca.