Nicaragua Rebuilding Forces After the Civil War

Is a Spanish speaking country located in the middle of Central America. Bordered by Honduras and Costa Rica, this presidential republic is one of the poorest in its hemisphere due to the difficulty recuperating after their civil war which ended in 1990. This civil war lasted over two decades. Midway through this civil war was the overthrow and eventual assassination of Anastasio Somozo due to the populace being desperate for change. This overthrow happened by to the Sandinistas taking power with support of elements from the Catholic Church as well as regional/international government interference.

Roman Catholicism is the most common religious practice however as of recent most of these Roman Catholics are non-practicing.

There is also a rapidly growing Protestant and Mormon population. After the overthrow, the new Sandinista regime controlled every aspect to people’s lives and economic inflation created an extraordinarily dismal economy. With the help of the United States, the Sandistas were voted out through the election of Violeta Chamorro, the first woman president of Nicaragua and of any Latin American nation.

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Currently Nicaragua is a monogamous country; marriage is allowed for heterosexual couples only after 18 years of age. The mean age of a mother having her first child is about 19 years old with a maternal mortality rate of 150 deaths to 1,000 live births. The total mortality rate for infants during birth is 18.3 deaths to 1,000 live births.

That being said, it is important to note that 80.4% of the population statistically uses some sort of contraceptive while engaging in sexual activities.

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A study done on domestic violence was carried out with women between the ages of 15 and 49. Of this population sample, 71% of ever-married women had experienced emotional abuse and 52% of the women reported having some sort of physical violence by their domestic partner. The median duration during their lives was 5 years. I found this to be extraordinarily possible, as I have visited Nicaragua myself a few years ago. In 2014 I was given the opportunity volunteer as a nurse’s assistant going from clinics to hospitals to the outer poorest towns. We went to several different cities but based ourselves in Managua. I remember vividly the family structures and seeing this abuse. The family I stayed with had neighbors who would shout and fight and the husband would hit the wife whom he treated as a maid more-so than a spouse.

No one in the village did anything because it had been so normalized. In regards to pregnancy over 31% of women who reported violence also suffered additional severe physical violence during pregnancy. As a very masculine country, it is no wonder that direct gender based violence is so prevalent. With manliness being linked to roughness and power it evidently is linked to feeling a need to be better than women and dominate them. Generally this violence would be getting kicked, punched, and slapped. I would say women are not seen as human by at least half if not more of the men in the country. As Are Women Human states, “If women were human… would we be trafficked as things for sexual use and entertainment worldwide in whatever form current technology makes possible?

Would we be kept from learning to read and write?” Rape is a very widespread issue in Nicaragua. There are laws governing rape and sexual misconduct in the Penal Code, however, are highly misogynistic. These laws do not make it so that men have to fear harsh repercussions facilitating this patriarchal environment. The maximum sentence for rape is four years. In the law it allows there to be a distinction between women of “good fame” and women “of another class”. Meaning women that aren’t of high class’s abusers only have a three to six month imprisonment period while 2-4 year imprisonment is the standard for women of “better standard”. It is also noted that if the victim is a virgin or not matters in regards to sentencing.

This is a double standard since this law is only in regards to vaginal rape and not anal and is stated in law that “rape is committed by lying with a woman without her consent…” The rape of a nonvirgin is downplayed in many legal systems. If a woman has had any sexual partners outside of being married she is usually ignored therefor making it unlikely that the rape is reported to the authorities. I believe the sexual assault prevalence in Nicaragua is in actuality much higher than that which has been reported especially with the authorities currently in charge. A climate of fear is widespread throughout Nicaragua, where no one feels they have any free speech. People are packing up and moving out of Nicaragua because of the Nicaraguan authorities and paramilitary groups. These groups are killing, torturing, and raping anti-government protesters to curb these protests of the past 5 months.

Many different reports have stated “women and men have been raped, including with rifles and other objects, and threats of sexual violence against people in detention have been common. After knowing that is the example the Nicaraguan government is setting, and how little the countries laws show its care for victims of assault you can see that women fear this patriarchal culture. To be raped and beaten for stating an opinion is to be told you are a slave to the man of the house and you must do anything you can to obey him. This is why I feel that the prevalence of sexual assault is much higher than reported numbers.

Nicaraguan culturally relative norms are very degrading to women. Living in the unknown of what will happen and knowing that if you speak your truth, it will be humiliating and destructive to self-worth. If a woman were to married and be raped no one would listen and care. She would be damaging to her husbands reputation as well creating an honor shame complex for woman to never want to speak up against their abusers, who could even be government agents. In this time the world must stop looking the other way and figure out a way to help fight this gender based abuse.

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Nicaragua Rebuilding Forces After the Civil War. (2022, Jan 02). Retrieved from

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