IJM Manila: This Conviction Marks a Turning Point in Survivor’s Journey of Healing

IJM Manila has been working on this case since 2008.
IJM Manila has been working on this case since 2008.

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Yesterday, a man was sentenced to 40 years in prison and convicted for raping his daughter, Marikit.*

IJM has been working on this case since 2008, and IJM Manila attorney Ralph Catedral was grateful to make the phone call to tell Marikit and her mother the news.

“This victory is a testament to Marikit’s perseverance, our team’s relentless pursuit of justice, and our government’s commitment to the rule of law,” Catedral said, adding that his greatest hope is that “this victory would be a turning point in Marikit’s journey of healing.”

The sexual assaults began ten years ago, when Mariket was 12 years old. She shared the awful truth when she became pregnant as a result of the abuse, and her mother helped her report the crime to police.

Marikit’s father has been in custody since he was arrested in 2007. IJM’s lawyers expected him to testify in the trial on March 18, 2014, but instead he pled guilty and confessed to the evidence stacked against him. The conviction was the second against him; he was convicted last summer on sexual assault charges in another trial that IJM also supported.

Over the past six years, IJM social workers have provided Marikit counseling, helping her to process the trauma and navigate her new role as a mother. Marikit also chose to testify in the trial, standing up in court to tell the truth about what happened to her. Her mother has remained supportive, and Marikit has grown close to other IJM clients who are survivors of sexual violence.

Marikit’s daughter is now 5 years old, and she is growing up with two strong women as role models in her life—her mother and her grandmother. IJM social workers who are helping Marikit choose a career path say the job search has empowered her with more confidence. Marikit is eager to find a good job that will allow her to provide a safe future for her daughter.