Wendy Funes

Uncovering the Facts Behind Honduran Gang Rapes

In 2013 a young woman in the La Paz province of central Honduras was charged with killing her baby after police found a fetus in a garbage bin. Abortion is illegal in Honduras.

The case was largely forgotten until this year, when a leader of the indigenous community, the Lenca, alleged that the woman had been raped by a gang of men led by a former mayor of the Santa Elena district in La Paz.

His allegations dovetail with a scandal that erupted three years ago, when there were reports that several young women in the province had been sexually assaulted by the gang. Shocked by the violence, local men organized patrols and allegedly recognized the mayor in a confrontation with the gang. That the mayor was never charged many believe is thanks to his poltiical ties.

La Paz is a poor province of Honduras with a predominantly Lenca population, who often suffer violence, discrimination, and ostracism.

This case has been largely ignored by domestic media and I want to investigate the story because it sheds light on two grave problems plaguing Honduran society – widespread gender violence and persistent corruption in the judiciary.

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