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One of every 15 Paraguayan women is a rape victim



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Asuncion, Nov 25 (EFE).- One of every 15 women in Paraguay has suffered rape, according to a survey presented Friday in the Senate to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

The survey, carried out by the Paraguayan Center for Population Studies, showed that, in 2004, 23.5 percent of 7,000 women polled were victims of some type of hostile conduct, 2.6 percent of whom had been raped, 6.6 percent physically assaulted and 14.3 percent verbally assaulted.

"Our role is to continue legislating to defend women and, in our position as governmental authorities, to provide them with equal opportunities," the head of Congress, Sen. Carlos Filizzola, said during a seminar titled "Let's Break the Silence."

For her part, Sen. Lilian Samaniego, chairwoman of the Senate's committee on equality and social development, said that in Paraguay no statistics were needed to reveal the aggression against women because there exists a culture of violence.

She said this culture was not something innate, but rather learned by living in Paraguay's cultural environment.

"There is acceptance of violence and aggression is not socially sanctioned. Traveling the country, one notices women's desire for this culture to disappear and for this reason we have submitted a bill to change the law," Samaniego said.

According to the senator, it is necessary for the current law, which punishes cases of domestic violence with fines, to be modified so that these crimes are instead punishable with between three and seven years in prison, with longer sentences in cases of rape.

Experts and activists participated in the seminar, which addressed violence against women and its relation to health and public policy. EFE

Copyright 2005 Efe. All Rights Reserved.

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