Contestants in this year’s Miss Peru pageant, which took place last weekend, deviated from the tradition of reciting their names and body measurements (yeah, apparently that’s a thing), opting instead to share shocking statistics on gender-based violence in their country. Here are a few of their statements, which first appeared on Buzzfeed:
“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 Luciana Fernández and I represent the city of Huánuco, and my measurements are: 13,000 girls suffer sexual abuse in our country.”
“Almendra Marroquín here. I represent Cañete, and my measurements are: more than 25% of girls and teenagers are abused in their schools.”
Romina Lozano, who went on to win the competition, shared that there have been “3,114 women victims of trafficking up until 2014.” Dedicating the evening to the prevention of violence against women was the idea of pageant organizer and former beauty queen Jessica Newton, who noted that out of the 150 women who competed in the pageant at its earliest stage, at least five said they had experienced violence of some kind.
“Unfortunately there are many women who do not know, and think they are isolated cases,” Newton told the AFP. “I think that the fact that you are looking at your regional representative, at the queen of your department, giving open and real figures about what is happening in our country is alarming.”
Newton also addressed the decision to keep the swimsuit competition, an aspect of beauty pageants that some people find degrading, saying: “Women can walk out naked if they want to. Naked. It’s a personal decision. If I walk out in a bathing suit I am just as decent as a woman who walks out in an evening dress.”
While America has been grappling with violence against women in the wake of the allegations against Harvey Weinstein and several other Hollywood power players, Peru has been dealing with its own sexism crisis. According to the Guardian, the issue has gained attention following the circulation last year of a CCTV video of Peruvian lawyer Cindy Arlette Contreras being dragged across a hotel lobby by her naked ex-boyfriend Adriano Pozo. The attack, and the fact that Pozo received a suspended sentence, spawned several protests across the country urging the government to do more to protect women.