Pageant Contestants In Peru Gave Gender Violence Statistics Instead Of Their Measurements

"13,000 girls suffer sexual abuse in our country."

A group of women competing in Miss Peru 2018 used the spotlight to take a stand. During a segment of the show in which contestants were asked to provide their bust, waist, and hip measurements, they offered up decidedly different information instead. The facts and figures the women rattled off in place of their bra sizes had to do with the number of people (particularly women) who have been negatively impacted by gender violence, and it was part of the pageant's larger mission to raise awareness about gender-based violence in Peru and beyond.

As you can see from the tweet below, the statistics the women provided were sobering and troubling, to say the least. As a contestant named Camila Canicoba from Lima noted, there were "2,202 cases of femicide reported in the last nine years in my country."

"13,000 girls suffer sexual abuse in our country," added contestant Luciana Fernández from Huánuco.

Per BuzzFeed News, the pageant's poignant and impactful moments didn't end there, because according to the outlet violence against women was the night's focus. During an oft-debated part of the evening when contestants strut around in bikinis, organizers opted to display newspaper clippings of prominent cases of murdered and assaulted women in the background.

Even as the competition came to a close, the goal of raising awareness about violence against women remained in the forefront. In the last segment of the evening, contestants were asked what laws they would alter to combat murders of women because of their gender.

"Everyone who does not denounce and everyone who does not do something to stop this is an accomplice," pageant organizer and former beauty queen Jessica Newton told BuzzFeed of the decision to take a stand.

On average, according to Peru's minister for women, 10 women are murdered every month and an additional 20 survive homicide attempts. U.N. Women also reports femicide is most prevalent in Latin America and the Caribbean. 

Thankfully, the organizers of Miss Peru 2018 aren't the only ones hoping to effect change. While the government is looking into legal reform to better protect women, others, like copywriter Charlie Tolmos and his colleague, Nicolas Soto, are using art to address the issue. With the help of Peruvian musician Diego Dibos, the duo created a powerful song that speaks to how heartbreaking and prevalent femicide is, and why it must end.


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