The Paramilitaries and Sexual Violence Along Colombia's Caribbean Coast

AUC / 13 APR 2022

This investigation tells the stories of Carolina and Karen, two survivors of sexual violence by Hernán Giraldo, one of Colombia’s most infamous paramilitary commanders. They are part of over 200 girls and women who were abused by Giraldo and his men in the northern Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range.

Giraldo used sexual abuse and rape to cement his absolute control over local populations and dominate this part of Colombia from the 1990s until the early 2000s. Years later, Karen and Carolina continue to suffer from the physical and psychological scars of these crimes as they try to move on with their lives.

Chapter 1

A Criminal Empire that Abused Girls and Women

AUC / 13 APR 2022

It was 7:00 at night. Carolina was lying in bed and turned on the TV just as a news reporter announced: “One of the most bloodthirsty paramilitary leaders of the…

Chapter 2

A Desperate Effort to Rebuild Lives

AUC / 13 APR 2022

After running for hours, Carolina, 21, arrived in the city of Santa Marta with her family in 2000. Their feet were full of blisters and they had nothing but the…

Chapter 3

The Truth Comes Out

AUC / 13 APR 2022

At the start of 2010, the former Colombian paramilitary leader Hernán Giraldo Serna was completing his sentence for drug trafficking in a US prison.

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