GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA – Yesterday, a man was sentenced to 13 years in prison for raping his 15-year-old daughter. The sexual abuse started when Danika* was 11 years old. The man threatened Danika that he would hurt her brothers and sisters if she told anyone about the violent assaults.
Danika broke the silence and revealed the awful truth when her anxious mother confronted her, worried about Danika's changing behavior. Immediately, her mother filed a complaint against Danika's father with police. Doctors Without Borders referred the case to IJM Guatemala after Danika received medical care at their local clinic.
IJM represented Danika in court, and she bravely chose to testify in the trial. The just verdict means Danika's father will remain in prison. And the conviction sends a strong message to the entire community that sexual crimes against children will not be tolerated under the law.
"This man is dangerous, not only to his own daughters, but to the little girls of this country," says IJM lawyer Mabel Gutiérrez. She adds, "He is a danger to society."
IJM social workers continue to support Danika as she heals with trauma-focused therapy and focuses on her studies in school. IJM is also helping her mother find new vocational opportunities so that she can provide a stable home for Danika and her siblings.
*A pseudonym has been used for the protection of this IJM client.