LA PRENSA (Nicaragua)
MANAGUA – A leading women's rights organization is calling on Nicaraguan authorities to declare a "yellow alert" over the country's growing sexual abuse "epidemic," La Prensa reports.
Martha María Blandón, the Central American director of the international rights group Ipas, cites official court statistics to suggest that abuse cases are on the rise. Nicaragua's Legal Medicine Institute (IML) receives an average of about 5,000 such reports per year.
"What's even more alarming is that 80% of the victims, according to IML data, are girls under the age of 17," said Blandón. "We're talking about an epidemic. The authorities ought to declare a yellow alert. That's what they'd do if there were 5,000 cases of dengue, or 5,000 cases of swine flu."
Blandón's comments coincide with the recent release of Amnesty International's 2012 annual report, which included a chapter on Nicaragua. "Rape and sexual abuse remained a concern," the Amnesty report's Nicaragua section reads. "Despite this, in July the Supreme Court of Justice reduced the sentence imposed on Farinton Reyes for the rape in 2009 of his co-worker, Fátima Hernández, to four years' imprisonment."
To justify its decision, the court claimed that Reyes committed the crime while under the influence of alcohol and in a state of sexual excitement he couldn't control. "The judges also argued that Fátima Hernández had acted permissively and co-operated in the rape," the report reads.