GUATEMALA CITY – IJM has been supporting Eugenia* since 2011, when the 14-year-old girl was assaulted and became pregnant. Earlier this month, a difficult trial ended with a just ruling: The man who raped Eugenia was convicted and sentenced to 13 years in prison.
IJM lawyers supported the legal case, initially targeting a taxi driver accused of attacking her. But when a DNA test came back negative, Eugenia revealed an awful new fact: She said that her mother's live-in boyfriend had raped her shortly after the taxi driver's assault. Eugenia explained that he had been the one to drive her to the Public Ministry to report the abuse after she was raped by the taxi driver. But two days later, her mother's boyfriend raped her. He thought the taxi driver would be the only one to blame, and he threatened to hurt Eugenia and her mother if she ever told the truth.
IJM social workers immediately helped secure a new home for Eugenia, where she would be safe from further intimidation or violence. Eugenia decided she wanted to testify in the trial, to make sure the truth was known. It was an especially brave decision, since her own mother refused to acknowledge the truth.
When the judge asked Eugenia what she hoped would happen to her mother's boyfriend – the perpetrator – she replied firmly, "I hope that he stays there in prison." On June 8, 2012, he was convicted and sentenced to 13 years and three months in prison. IJM will continue to support the ongoing trial against the taxi driver, the first man to assault Eugenia.
Eugenia is now 16 years old. She lives with other young mothers who have experienced trauma, and she receives counseling at the home. She is back in school, and she says she wants to be a lawyer when she grows up.
*A pseudonym has been used for the protection of this IJM client.