Linda Loaiza went to Caracas, Venezuela to study veterinary medicine when she was 18 years old. Her dreams were destroyed when she was abducted and tortured for four months. When she managed to finally escape, her jaw was dislocated and her malnourished body was covered in scars from cigarette burns along with other physical damages. She is no longer able to bear children because of a ruptured spleen. This incident occurred 14 years ago, Loaiza has had over 12 surgeries to repair the physical damages and still continues to receive psychological treatment for her emotional trauma. She is now trying to address the injustice she suffered not only from her attackers, but also the Venezuelan court system. Loaiza’s attacker, Luis Carrera Almoina, is the son of a powerful political figure and was acquitted of all the charges due to lack of evidence in 2004. Eventually the ruling was overturned and Almoina served six years in jail for “grievous bodily injuries and the illegal deprivation of liberty”. Almoina was not charged with rape and attempted murder and he is now a free man. Loaiza went on to study law and this gave her the strength to challenge Venezuela before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Gender violence against women in Venezuela is widespread and the numbers continue to grow. In 2013, there were over 70,000 reports of gender violence in Venezuela and less than 15% of the cases had charges filed.
Reading about the abuse Linda Loaiza went through is heartbreaking and infuriating. Her case was ignored because her attacker is the son of someone who is in high political power. The statistics about how prominent gender violence against women is in Venezuela and how many charges are actually made is horrible. I hope Loaiza gets the justice she deserves in this case and that it opens up new doors for women’s rights in Venezuela.