Cora Corazón (Cora With Heart)

Cora Corazón details the roller coaster journey of Cora’s family, including her mother Xiomara and her brother Félix, but mostly of Cora herself. The three flee Cora’s father, Segundo, after he begins to hit Xiomara one night, and they stay with a friend, Yanet, in the city. However, Yanet’s husband is frustrated with the extra mouths to feed, so Xiomara begins searching for a more permanent job and other places to live. Fortunately, the wealthy businessman Ramón has been watching her at the market, where she would help Yanet during the week. Ramón offers her a job and a home as his domestic servant, which she eagerly takes. Ramón soon takes on a fatherly figure for Xiomara’s children, especially young Félix, but begins sexually abusing Cora on her 11th birthday. This abuse eventually culminates in an unwanted pregnancy. Cora’s options are limited, and she feels helpless and alone. Will Cora ever tell her family the truth? How will she escape her situation and continue on to a better life? Will Ramón have to face the consequences of his actions?

In 2014, a coalition of women’s organizations and activists working on sexual and reproductive health rights in Peru launched a campaign of national and international scope titled “Let Her Decide.” The campaign seeks to unite efforts to decriminalize abortion when a pregnancy is the result of sexual violence. This particular focus has been taken due to the high number of rape cases in the country and the lack of a legal framework that allows the freedom to terminate a pregnancy through safe and legal abortions. According to a WHO multi-country study on women’s health and domestic violence in Peru “1 in every 5 women reported being sexually abused as a child (in Cusco and Lima), the main perpetrators being male family members (other than the father or stepfather), followed by strangers.” (WHO 2005).

Furthermore, according to a document created by the coalition of organizations working on the “Let Her Decide” campaign, 34% of adolescents between 10 and 19 years of age who are victims of rape become pregnant. Despite this situation, the laws in Peru criminalize abortion in every circumstance, including rape. Within the current Penal Code if a rape victim decides to terminate her pregnancy, she violates a criminal law and faces the risk of prosecution, experiencing double criminalization. Furthermore, this also increases the risks of women turning to unsafe methods for terminating a pregnancy.

Given that abortion is an extremely sensitive issue in Peru, PCI Media Impact is currently working on the production of a 5-episode EE pilot radio drama in order to join the regional efforts of women’s rights advocates in Peru, who are urging our participation in an effort to create a legal exception for abortion in the case of rape. The program aims to create a safe space to discuss the decriminalization of abortion–as a result of sexual violence, and targets the following key audiences: 1) Parents and family members of adolescent girls between ages 13 and 17 with limited access to information and health services; and 2) Adolescent girls between ages 13 and 17, who are at risk of sexual violence and forced pregnancy, and face a greater risk of legal prosecution due to abortion –as a result of sexual violence.

The program aims to:

1) Make visible the factors that increase the vulnerability of adolescent girls to sexual violence, in order to promote attitudes and practices that reduce the risk of becoming victims of rape, and

2) Encourage safe conversations around the termination of pregnancies caused by rape, contributing to the debate on the decriminalization of abortion as a result of sexual violence, and to the overall discussion of women’s reproductive health rights.

This is an ongoing program and final evaluations have yet to be processed.

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