New anti-harassment ordinance in Chile imposes stiff fines

SANTIAGO – A legal punishment will be imposed on sexual aggressors of any kind, due to the public outcry over the raising number of sexual offenses in the country. This municipal order follows a proposal from Recoleta municipality. The new unanimously approved municipal resolution demands a steep sanctions imposed on sexual offenders. They could face fines ranging from CLP $47.000 to CLP $236.000. The ordinance not only aims to punish but also prevent such behavior. Recoleta’s mayor Daniel Jadue declared according to hoy x hoy newspaper: “we are devoted to eradicate the violence against women in any aspect, the feeling of some men that they can insult or sexually harass women on public roads will be sanctioned.” In the same way, the spokesperson of the Observatory Against Street Harassment Maria Jose Guerrero thanked the initiative and said: “this is something necessary and we congratulate Recoleta for taking up this topic on which regrettably we do not have a law.” https://twitter.com/danieljadue/status/986228794037096448 Specifically, the ordinance divides aggressions into four categories, emphasizing that each one deserves different penalization. Thus, obscene gestures such as whistling or verbal expressions of a sexual kind will be punished to pay a penalty fee of  CLP $47.301 and CLP $94.602. Audio/visual recording of someone’s body or a part of it without that person’s consent, and that includes sexual connotations will be sanctioned with CLP $ 94.602 or CLP $ 189.204. Another category punishes intimidating approach, exhibitionism or masturbation in public, which are punishable with a CLP $141.903 – CLP $236.505 fee. The last category includes a fine between CLP $189.204 and CLP $236.505 for uninvited sexual body contact like improper touching or rubbing.

The Background

A recent report delivered by the national prosecutor’s office indicated an alarming increase in reported sexual crimes until late 2017. These numbers were given by the Executive Director of the prosecutor’s office Francisca Werth. The information reveals that  denouncements for sexual offenses increased 3.3% during 2017, and 75.8% of victims were minors, 84.4% were women, and 15% men. The report also remarked that 76.3% of the imputed received a prison sentence.

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