Since the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) became Latin America’s biggest guerrilla movement in 1964, the role of the Colombian army has been shrouded in controversy. After more than 50 years of crossfire between the FARC and the military, the Colombian National Center for Historical Memory estimates that at least 260,000 people were killed. Of those, 82 percent were civilians.
Sexual violence has also been a persistent problem, brought back to light by a horrific case this year involving the gang rape of a 12-year-old indigenous girl by a group of Colombian military officers. In the last four years alone, at least 118 members of the Armed Forces are under investigation for sexual violence. According to prosecutors, rape is a practice that is ingrained in the Colombian military, though it is dismissed by high-ranking officers as “individual conduct.”