Legislation prohibiting early marriage was adopted in 1999, making the minimum legal age of marriage 16 years for both men and women.
The government has acted to reduce violence against women and, in 2001, set up the National Programme against Family Violence and Sexual Abuse. A law adopted in 2002 makes local authorities responsible for policies pertaining to domestic violence.The law stipulates punishments for both rape and spousal rape, however the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) expressed concern in 2007 about the lack of enforcement measures and the lack of access to justice for women, particularly indigenous women. Also in 2007, the government approved the Law on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men, providing for the eradication of domestic and sexual violence and, in 2009, the government instituted a National Plan on Violence against Women (2009-2015), which includes physical, sexual and psychological violence against women.The Ministry of Justice has initiated campaigns to disseminate information about services for women available under the plan,and the National Police of Peru have a special directive of procedures that they are required to follow in cases of violence against women and girls and in the case of violations of sexual freedom.The government reported to the OAS in 2012 that a comprehensive plan to combat violence against women was in the pipeline.
During Peru’s civil war, which lasted from 1980 until 2000, women and children were victims of rape and sexual assault, especially in rural areas and during detention, and such acts were performed both by government forces and opposition groups. Other types of violence included sexual slavery, sexual violence as a form of torture, and forced marriage, abortion and pregnancy. Most cases of violence targeted lower middle class and brown-skinned women (cholas or mestizas), indicating that victims were targeted in relation to their class and race. In the years following the conflict, an increased incidence of sexual violence against women was reported. Article 170, an amendment to the Penal Code, recognises this history, and considers rape by a member of the Armed Forces an aggravating circumstance. In 2006, the Comprehensive Reparations Plan (Law 28592) was approved to give reparations for victims of the conflict. The Reparations Council developed a Single Register of Victims of Violence who suffered sexual slavery, forced marriage, forced prostitution and forced abortion. According to the government’s latest report to CEDAW, as of May 2011, the register “contained 1,657 registered cases of sexual violation (1,638 women and 19 men) and 428 cases of other forms of sexual violence (287 women and 141 men), and 560 cases [were] in the process of registration.”
Peruvian Civil Code upholds the right to ownership for all citizens and Article 2 of the Constitution guarantees gender equality under the law. However, according to data gathered by the FAO, women’s access to land is hindered by several factors, including illiteracy, displacement, and lack of knowledge about land rights. Indigenous women’s – and peoples’ more broadly – rights to land have been seriously impeded by the logging and oil industries. In 2002, only about 25% of land title deeds were granted to women.
Bastick, M., K. Grimm and R. Kunz (2007) Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict: Global Overview and Implications for the Security Sector, Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces, Geneva, Switzerland, http://www.dcaf.ch/DCAF/EZ/Publications/Sexual-Violence-in-Armed-Conflict (accessed 20 December 2011).