LA PAZ – Bolivia’s ombudsman, Rolando Villena, on Monday expressed concern about the increase in sexual violence against girls in recent weeks, including a new rape-murder case involving a 4-year-old in a town in La Paz province.
In a communique released by the Ombudsman’s Office, Villena criticized the systematic refusal of the authorities to declare a national alert over the growing number of cases of violence – including murder – against women, which now are being perpetrated against girls as well.
“There is a blameworthy and concealing denial on the part of the national, provincial and municipal authorities with regard to the cases of violence and murder against females, especially against girls, which are rising in numbers and in cruelty,” said Villena, according to the communique.
In his judgment, there also exists a type of “social complacency” whereby it is thought that “arresting the perpetrators and sending them to prison is enough, while nothing is done to prevent them and protect girls and teenagers.”
The office referred specifically to a case that came to light last Friday in the town of Palos Blancos, 254 km (157 mi.) from the capital, where authorities found the body of a 4-year-old girl who had been “killed by an individual when her parents were at a meeting.”
Villena instructed the Ombudsman’s Office to create a committee to go to the scene of the crime to investigate the matter and then to prepare a report on the increase in rapes and killings of children in that zone, where at least four other similar cases have occurred so far this year.
When the report is ready, Villena will hold a meeting with authorities and representatives of social organizations to discuss the matter.
The Ombudsman’s Office noted on Monday that each year some 14,000 cases of rape against children and women are reported and that 34 percent of the country’s minors suffer sexual abuse before they are 18.