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Understanding Estupro

The crime of estupro usually describes cases in which an adult has sexual relations with a minor above the legal age of consent by means of seduction or deceit. This discriminatory law mislabels rape and contributes to impunity for rapists as it ignores the exploitation of unequal power dynamics and the vulnerability of teenage girls. In addition, the penalties prescribed under estupro provisions are generally very low, far lower than applicable penalties for rape (see table below), and are not commensurate with the severity of the crime.

The information in this factsheet is largely derived from the report titled Failure to Protect: How Discriminatory Sexual Violence Laws and Practices are Hurting Women, Girls, and Adolescents in the Americas, published by Equality Now in September 2021. Please refer to the report for further information on these laws as well as a full list of recommendations