Griselda's Story: A Brave Survivor Dreams for her Country | International Justice Mission shield arrow-simple-alt-top arrow-simple-alt-left arrow-simple-alt-right arrow-simple-alt-bottom facebook instagram linkedin medium pinterest rss search-alt twitter video-play arrow-long-right arrow-long-left arrow-long-top arrow-long-bottom arrow-simple-right arrow-simple-left arrow-simple-bottom readio arrow-simple-top speaker-down plus minus cloud hb pin camera globe cart rotate star edit arrow-top arrow-right arrow-left arrow-bottom check search close square speaker-up speaker-mute return play pause love

Griselda's Story: A Brave Survivor Dreams for her Country

Griselda’s mother was shocked and shouted for help. She flagged down a passing police car, and they drove to a neighborhood notorious for violent crime and gang activity. The blur car was sitting in an empty lot; Griselda was inside.

She had been raped at gunpoint by three men. Two fled by the time the police arrived, and the other man was arrested.

Griselda got medical help right away, and her family reported the heinous crime.

“Please Bring Them To Justice”

Many impoverished families in Guatemala do not report crimes because they fear retaliation from the perpetrator or his family.

Griselda’s parents knew they had to try to get the justice their daughter deserved. “Otherwise,” her mother said, “there will be more little girls who will be harmed.”

The trial started, but the family simply could not afford legal representation on their own. When they discovered IJM, they found a strong attorney—and a team of social workers who could help their daughter heal.

Griselda testified in two different trials, choosing to tell the truth even though it meant facing the perpetrators in court. The first man was convicted in 2008.

IJM investigators helped police search for the two others who had escaped on the day of the attack. They were finally arrested, tried and convicted in 2012. At one point during her testimony, Griselda addressed the judge: “Your honor, I want to make this quite clear: If anything happens to me or my family in the next few days, weeks, or years, it is because of these men. Please bring them to justice.”

“She Is Marching Forward”

Nineteen-year-old Griselda remembers how she used to be afraid to go outside and struggled with feeling lonely and ashamed.

But today she is a confident, well-spoken young woman who says she wants to share her story “so that everybody knows that you can overcome an experience such as this.”

Griselda shared her powerful story at IJM’s Global Prayer Gathering in Washington, DC, in April 2014. She thanked the IJM staff who had helped her and encouraged everyone to continue praying for children who do not have a defender.

She lives with her loving parents and younger siblings, and she finished her studies to become a bilingual secretary. Griselda completed an internship with IJM Guatemala, and she says she wants to become a social worker so she can continue helping children who have suffered trauma. She plans to enroll in university and study clinical psychology.

“What happened to her won’t ever be forgotten,” IJM Guatemala’s child psychologist Miriam Cruz said. “But now she’s marching forward.”

*A pseudonym has been used for the protection of this IJM client; she has given consent to share her image.

You might also be interested in…

see more

Newsletter Sign Up

Stay connected to the work! Sign up to get updates straight to your inbox.

Media Contact

We're here to answer your questions. Please fill out the form below and someone from our team will follow up with you soon.

More Information

Petra Kooman

Director of Marketing and Public Relations
pkooman@ijm.ca
519.679.5030 x.229

Make an Impact

Your skills, talents, and ideas are a force for change. From birthday parties to polar dips, your fundraising campaign can stop the violence.

Learn More

Thank you for signing up to learn more about starting a fundraiser. We will be in touch soon!

In the meantime, please take a look at our free guide: 25 Tips for the Novice Fundraiser.

Need Help?

Need more information?
We're here to help.
Contact us at events@ijm.ca