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Citizen Video Exposes Alleged Child Abuse in Peru

Alleged child abuse victim. Screen capture of video by Romy Schroth. Lima, Peru. Facebook.

Alleged child abuse victim. Screen capture of video by Romy Schroth. Lima, Peru. Facebook.

Video of a man attacking a small boy in the street in Lima is causing a scandal in Peru, after a woman named Romy Schroth uploaded footage of the assault to Facebook on January 26. Schroth commented on the video:

POR FAVOR SE LOS RUEGO!!! UN MAL NACIDO ACABA DE ROMPERLE LA NARIZ A UN NIÑO!!!!! Compartan!!!! LO ACABO DE GRABAR EN CORPAC SAN ISIDRO. No se que hacer!!!!! — en San Isidro.

PLEASE, I BEG YOU ALL!!! A BASTARD JUST BROKE A BOY'S NOSE!!! Share this!!!! I'VE JUST REGISTERED IT IN CORPAC [the Limean district of San Isidro]. I don't know what to do!!!!!

Outrage immediately spread online, and the perpetrator was soon identified as Luis Alfonso Tasaico Donoso, the boy's stepfather, thanks to the vehicle license plate visible in the video. Tasaico is now in police custody, though he denies injuring his stepson. The district attorney has since filed formal criminal charges against Tasaico for allegedly harming life, body, and health, with the aggravating circumstance of serious injuries (later modified to minor injuries).

Following the commotion online and Tasaico's arrest, Peru's Minister of Women and Vulnerable Populations Affairs publicly congratulated Schroth, the Facebook user whose video helped identify Tasaico.

Several websites have addressed the incident, such as publimetro.pe, which published a statement by Schroth:

Schroth, quien se encontraba en una peluquería aledaña pudo ver que al salir del local el padre continuó maltratando al menor.

“El hombre lo sacó del restaurante y comenzó a darle bofetadas. Luego lo llevó hacia su carro, lo metió a empujones y lo cogió de la cabeza para golpearlo contra el asiento. Cuando me acerqué al carro el niño miraba arriba intentando parar su hemorragia”, contó.

Schroth, who was at a nearby hair salon, could see a man continuing to mistreat a child in the street, outside a restaurant.

“The man shoved the boy out and started slapping him. Then he took him to his car, where he thrust him in and took him by the head and began beating him against the seat. When I walked by the car, the boy was leaning back his head, trying to stop the bleeding”, Schroth said.

The website utero.pe, in a piece titled “You Too Are Luis Tasaico Donoso,” commented:

¿Por qué la acción de Romy nos parece elogiable? No solo porque se compró el pleito, […]. no somos ni remotamente conscientes de que ciertas prácticas y formas de pensar contribuyen a que personas como Luis Alberto Tasaico Donoso existan y que queden impunes. En este caso no sucedió así, felizmente, pero las cifras dadas nos muestran una realidad más aplastante: existen muchísimos Luis Alberto Tasaico entre nosotros, y posiblemente, estemos siendo sus cómplices silenciosos.

Why is that we consider Romy's action praiseworthy? It's not only because she took up the fight […]. We are not even remotely aware that certain practices and mindsets make it possible for individuals like Tasaico to exist and to go unpunished. This wasn't the case here, fortunately, but statistics reveal the devastating reality: there are many Luis Alberto Tasaicos among us, and we are quite possibly their silent accomplices.

(In this text above, Tasaico's middle name mistakenly appears as Alberto. His correct name is Luis Alfonso Tasaico Donoso.)

The Tasaico scandal, as well as larger questions about child abuse, have sparked a wide-ranging discussion on Twitter:

Has Tasaico been useful as cautionary tale, so parents know they shouldn't beat their kids, or will this be yet another hypocritical social judgement?

We all know what comes next. Typically, the abuser (the father or stepfather) denies having beaten the boy and claims, amid all kinds of contradictions, that it was all an accident.

Biological father of boy beaten by his stepfather will ask for custody and pursue the arrest of his abuser.

And what about the mother, who did nothing? San Isidro local council [only] pressed charges against child's abuser.

This is Peru: people attack a boy and some crazies go out demanding justice for abuser. And the icing of the cake? They have children!

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