Editor’s Note: CNN is committed to covering gender inequality wherever it occurs in the world. This story is part of As Equals, a year-long series.
Brisa de Angulo was raped repeatedly by a member of her extended family at the age of 15. When she finally reported it, she faced intimidation and blame from authorities and members of her own community. In response, she founded Breeze of Hope — a charity raising awareness about sexual abuse and incest, and providing legal support to victims.
“Throughout this process I found out that I wasn’t alone, that there were tons of girls that were also being abused,” De Angulo told CNN. Bolivia has the highest rate of sexual violence in Latin America, with one in every three girls experiencing some kind of sexual abuse before the age of 18.
With a degree from Rutgers Law School, and years of campaigning behind her, she has taken her case to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, calling for the repeal of a legal provision in Bolivia which imposes lesser penalties for perpetrators whose victims are between 14- and 18-years-old.
CNN spoke to De Angulo about surviving abuse, and her battle to change attitudes and laws in Bolivia.
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