In this June 30, 2018 photo, Councilwoman Marcela Huanca cries as she relates the bullying she suffered from the mayor and his family, in Escoma, Bolivia. The South American country has a high percentage of women in municipal positions, and the world's second-highest number of women in parliament, according to the United Nations. But reports of political violence against women are on the rise. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)

As women's roles expand in Bolivian politics, so do attacks

August 25, 2018 - 10:32 am

ACHOCALLA, Bolivia (AP) — Women now hold almost half the seats in Bolivia's congress and laws mandate gender equality at lower levels too.

But women's rights activists report a sharp increase in violence against female politicians as their numbers rise.

Prosecutors say they have received 36 complaints of harassment and political violence against women so far this year. Meanwhile, electoral officials say they've received 60 such complaints, and the Councilwomen's Association of Bolivia says it has registered 90 complaints.

Some women say they wound up dropping their complaints when a male-dominated legal system showed little interest. On the other hand, some courts have shown remarkable zeal in prosecuting women.

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