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Singer Edita Guerrero’s death spotlights violence against women in Peru

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Lima (AFP) – Peruvian police have launched a nationwide manhunt for the husband and suspected killer of Edita Guerrero, a telegenic singer whose death has sparked a rare discussion about violence against women.

Guerrero, a founding member of successful cumbia group Corazon Serrano, died of brain damage in March after being hospitalized in the capital Lima.

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Her husband, Paul Olortiga, is suspected of beating the 30-year-old singer to death, and has been on the run since authorities issued a warrant for his arrest on Friday.

The case comes after actress and singer Magaly Solier spoke out against sexual harassment in May after a man masturbated behind her on a crowded Lima bus.

The two incidents have opened a conversation on violence against women in Peru, a socially conservative country of 30 million people where such issues are rarely discussed in public.

“We’re asking women not to stay quiet and to report cases of abuse and violence,” said Milena Justo, the head of women’s rights group the Manuela Ramos Movement.

The government has no reliable statistics on domestic violence because reports are so rare.

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According to the women’s ministry, 131 women were victims of homicide last year in Peru, more than half of them between 18 and 34 years old.

Women’s Minister Carmen Omonte said Monday that sexual harassment and domestic violence have traditionally been considered “private matters” in Peru.

“That’s why women tend to keep quiet,” she said.

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– ‘Constant harassment’ –

Omonte has launched a program to encourage women to stand up for their rights together with the coach of the national women’s volleyball team, Natalia Malaga, a former Olympian who is one of the country’s most famous public figures.

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“Women must speak up for ourselves and demand respect,” said Malaga when they launched the program earlier this month.

Solier, the actress who condemned an incident of public masturbation on a bus, said that in addition to domestic violence, “Peruvian women are subjected to constant sexual harassment in public.

“That’s why there’s so much violence in Peru,” she added.

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Solier, the 27-year-old star of award-winning film “The Milk of Sorrow,” said the incident on the bus took place in front of dozens of passengers who did nothing to defend her.

Her public condemnation led the municipal transport authority to launch a plan to separate men and women on buses at rush hour, as countries including Mexico, Egypt, Japan and Malaysia have done.

Last year 88.4 percent of women in Lima were victims of sexual harassment in public, according to a study by the Manuela Ramos Movement.

Many are afraid to lodge complaints.

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“In many homes in Peru and other countries, girls are still brought up to assume a role in society that is secondary to a man, accepting whatever he has in mind,” said Angelica Fuentes, the Mexican director of a foundation aimed at empowering Latin American women.

“As women, we need to understand that all change starts with education. In many cases, we generate machismo ourselves through the differences between our children at home.”

Machismo runs strong in Peru, where 65 percent of men think that if women wear provocative clothing they open themselves up to disrespect, according to a June survey by polling firm Ipsos.

“Violence and abuse against women are an epidemic throughout the region. The only difference is that today we are talking about the problem and there are voices emerging to condemn it,” said Fuentes.

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[Image via Edita Guerrero Facebook fan page]


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Eric Swalwell debunks Elise Stefanik’s entire defense of Trump in just 15 seconds

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Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) on Tuesday quickly took apart Rep. Elise Stefanik's (R-NY) defense of President Donald Trump during public impeachment hearings.

While questioning Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, Stefanik made a point of emphasizing delivering military aid to Ukraine requires ensuring that the country is working to root out corruption.

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Trump has likely added witness intimidation to the list of impeachable offenses: reporter

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President Donald Trump has not only railed against diplomat Marie Yovanovitch, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and one of the witnesses in the impeachment inquiry — he has done so in the middle of her public testimony. And journalist Bess Levin, reporting in Vanity Fair, asserts that by doing so, Trump might be adding witness tampering and witness intimidation to the articles of impeachment that the U.S. House of Representatives could indict him on.

On Friday morning, Trump tweeted, “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him.”

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‘Disqualifying’: Pete Buttigieg faces backlash for praising right-wing Tea Party movement in resurfaced 2010 video

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"I believe we might find that we have a lot in common," Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg said during an event hosted by Citizens for Common Sense.

South Bend, Indiana Mayor and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is facing backlash over a resurfaced video from 2010 in which he offered words of praise for the right-wing Tea Party movement and expressed a desire to find common ground.

During an October 2010 forum in Indiana hosted by the Tea Party-affiliated group Citizens for Common Sense, Buttigieg—then a candidate for Indiana state treasurer—told the audience that "there's some, especially in my party, who think the Tea Party's a wholly owned subsidiary of the Republican Party."

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