Peru is one of the most violent countries for women. Religious groups are preparing to seize power. They intend to win the presidency and their presence in congress has already censored two education ministers.
According to national data, 70% of children are targets of bullying because they do not conform to gender stereotypes. According to the WHO (2013), one out of five girls will be raped before the age of 15. Likewise, at least 130 women die every year as a result of feminicide. This is why the Ministry of Education decided to incorporate a gender approach to State-mandated education. Religious groups and groups opposing this policy voiced their opposition from Congress and from evangelical and catholic churches’ atriums claiming, via hate speech, that these policies sought to homosexualize children. They succeeded in censoring two education ministers. First, Jaime Saavedra and then, Marilú Martens.
These evangelical groups led by pastors Julio Rosas and Alberto Santana, distorted the policy’s message. They claimed the Peruvian State was promoting a “homosexual and ideological colonization”. They came together under the slogan “Don’t Mess With My Children” and then flooded the streets with messages against gender equality, denying Peruvians of a transformative school free of violence.
For these ultra-conservative groups, both catholic and evangelical, fighting the curriculum was only one battle. In the past, they had already targeted the Oral Emergency Contraception, legal abortion in the case of rape or for health reasons as well as sexual education. The had some accomplishments but not enough to win the support of the population so they posed as children’s advocates and concerned parents, portraying themselves as victims of a State that imposed a gender approach upon them.
Like so, they appeared before their parishioners as men and women concerned by something as important as education. After their success as a collective, they quickly identified a political opportunity, so much so that the most ardent activists against the gender approach bought their electoral kit in order to form their own political party.
“They just want power”, said former Minister of Interior, José Luis Pérez Guadalupe. Meanwhile, these pastors continue to collect millions in tithe, acquire sport arenas that they convert into churches, rally poor people, sign agreements with political leaders to reject civil union, among them Keiko Fujimori.