Violence against rural and indigenous women

indigenous women

The Annual Report 2018 of the National Institute of Human Rights, in his chapter on “Violence Against Rural and Indigenous Rural Women”, revealed that this segment has not only remained invisible to public opinion but also to the State.

The availability of statistical data, reliable and disaggregated, is a vital requirement. That is why the Report of the NHRI recommends that the State agencies, responsible for generating information related to violence against women, implement disaggregated data that include belonging to indigenous communities, the condition of rurality, age, disability, and sexual diversity.

Discrimination based on sex and gender, says the report, is not the only way to address the issue of violence against women. There are several social and cultural elements that intertwine interacting in multiple and simultaneous levels. Hence, one of the recommendations is that the Ministerio de la Mujer implements policies and programs of violence against women with cultural belonging, recognizing the specific characteristics of women of indigenous peoples and rural conditions. Because of crossing ethnicity, rurality and poverty, vulnerability to women becomes more evident.

Although the State has not generated information to characterize the violence against rural and indigenous women, there are qualitative academic works that address the issue.

Many women are subjected to a severe control of time by their employer, sacrificing their feeding hours and times to meet their biological needs generating urinary tract infections. La Asociación Nacional de Mujeres Rurales e Indígenas (Anamuri) has reported that without medical insurance women do not receive treatments for diseases such as tendinitis, lumbago and chronic ailments.

Violence against Mapuche women often also comes from State agencies, particularly Carabineros and Fuerzas Especiales (Chilean Police).
The criminalization of female leaders and “machis” is another element that has been questioned by the Mapuche Women’s Bureau. The case of the machi Millaray Huichalaf, accused of cover-up in the case of the fire in the farm Pisu Pisué, ended with her as the sole condemned. In June of this year lonko Juana Calfunao, of the Juan Paillalef community, was sentenced to five years and one day for mistreatment of Carabineros, after opposing the installation of 16 high voltage towers by Frontel, after the The Inter-American Court of Human Rights will enact a precautionary measure of protection for her and her family in 2015.

The widespread discrimination and criminalization on the part of the State is one of the barriers that prevent women from reporting, since the justice represents the same institution that authorizes attacks against their communities.

For the INDH, the situation of Mapuche women in the intercultural conflict that exists in La Araucanía is a matter of concern due to the attacks on their communities and the threats and violence against their leaders in conflicts with private companies. This is why the Institute recommends that the State develop a protocol to protect indigenous communities.