Gilda Rivera: “Women are at higher risk because they are considered second class citizens in Honduras”

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Gilda Rivera: “Women are at higher risk because they are considered second class citizens”

Gilda Rivera works in an apparent oasis of calm on a hill in Tegucigalpa. When you are there, among the plants and paintings which decorate the building, it’s hard to imagine the stories she and her organization hear. But some days, an unknown car appears and parks suspiciously in the close vicinity of the offices for no apparent reason and waits, then it leaves.

Gilda is the director of the Centre for Women’s Rights (Centro para Derechos las Mujeres), a group that works to document and combat violence against women in Honduras.

In a report published recently, the group painted a dark picture of what it is like to be a woman in Honduras, where hundreds have been victims of sexual abuse, domestic violence and murder.


Gilda says the situation for Honduran women has always been worrying but since the coup d’etat of June 2009, things have deteriorated rapidly.

“When the whole population is facing human rights violations, women are at even greater risk because we are considered second class citizens,” said Gilda.

The Centre for Women’s Rights has documented a number of cases of sexual violence against women reportedly committed by members of the security forces since de coup d’etat, particularly in the north of the country.

“A woman was detained by police officers after a demonstration, taken to a piece of wasteland and raped by four police officers. She recognized some of them from the names she could see on their uniforms.

“They left her there. She was forced to move away from her home because of the fear she feels. This is the punishment women experience for daring to speak out – to participate, to be citizens.”

Gilda is convinced that the historical lack of investigations and justice for women who have suffered violence is contributing to more cases of abuse.

“The coup d’etat ruined much of what we had gained and achieved… all women have received is more violence.”

Source: Amnesty International

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