During the contest on Sunday night, the participants were expected to come forward and introduce themselves, sharing their bust, waist and hip measurements. Instead, they decided to share statistics of a different kind – the alarming extent of violence against women in the South American country.
“My name is Camila Canicoba,” said the first woman to take the microphone, “And I represent the department of Lima. My measurements are: 2,202 cases of femicide reported in the last nine years in my country.”
Next came Romina Lozana, who went on to win the crown, stating her measurements as the “3,114 women victims of trafficking up until 2014.”
"My name is Juana Acevedo and my measurements are: more than 70 per cent of women in our country are victims of street harassment."
“My name is Melina Machuca, I represent the department of Cajamarca, and my measurements are: more than 80 per cent of women in my city suffer from violence.”
“Almendra Marroquín here. I represent Cañete, and my measurements are: more than 25 per cent of girls and teenagers are abused in their schools.”
“My name is Bélgica Guerra and I represent Chincha. My measurements are: the 65 per cent of university women who are assaulted by their partners.”
“My name is Luciana Fernández and I represent the city of Huánuco, and my measurements are: 13,000 girls suffer sexual abuse in our country.”
As each woman spoke, images and newspaper clippings of women who had been assaulted and murdered flashed on the screen behind them. In the pageants Q&A segment, women were asked how they would change the legal code to better protect women.
Jessica Newtown, the pageant's organiser and a former beauty queen herself, told Buzzfeed News that they decided to theme the event around gender-based violence to empower women.
"Everyone who does not denounce and everyone who does not do something to stop this is an accomplice," she said.
“Women can walk out naked if they want to. Naked. It’s a personal decision. If I walk out in a bathing suit I am just as decent as a woman who walks out in an evening dress.”