Brought to you by the editors of People en Español.
The Miss Peru beauty pageant took an unexpected turn on Sunday when the contestants took a stand against violence toward women. The contestants, who represent different parts of the South American country, boldly skipped sharing their body measurements (bust/waist/hips) as is traditionally done, instead announcing harrowing stats on violence against women in Peru.
Each woman stepped forward with the standard introductory line – “My name is… and I represent… My measurements are,” — but completed their statements with chilling revelations. Here are a few of the standout statistics:
“My name is Camila Canicoba and I represent the department of Lima. My measurements are: 2,202 cases of femicide reported in the last nine years in my country.”
“My name is Melina Machuca, I represent the department of Cajamarca, and my measurements are: more than 80% of women in my city suffer from violence.”
“My name is Luciana Fernández and I represent the city of Huánuco, and my measurements are: 13,000 girls suffer sexual abuse in our country.”
“My name is Bélgica Guerra and I represent Chincha. My measurements are: the 65% of university women who are assaulted by their partners.”
“My name is Romina Lozano and I represent the constitutional province of Callao, and my measurements are: 3,114 women victims of trafficking up until 2014.”
Behind the women was a huge screen displaying newspaper clippings about crimes against women, including photos of their battered faces. The pageant organizers said that gender violence reached its tipping point when a naked man brutally dragged his girlfriend by the hair in a shocking video that went viral and didn’t receive any jail time.
“It was the drop that filled the glass,” a protest promoter told Broadly. “Many women felt like, if a video like this does not provide us any protection, it is pretty obvious that no one will protect us. The State is definitely not going to be there.”
Jessica Newton, the Miss Peru pageant organizer and former beauty queen spoke to Buzzfeed about the urgent need for people to take a stand collectively: “Everyone who does not do something to stop this is an accomplice,” she said.
The pageant ended with a series of questions lobbed at the contests about how they would change laws to help combat femicide, the act of killing women because they are women.