GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA – Earlier this week, on an otherwise quiet, rainy street, a man was arrested for allegedly repeatedly sexually abusing a 12-year-old Guatemalan girl. IJM received the case earlier this summer and has have been supporting Graciela* since, who gave birth to a little girl as a result of the abuse.
Too afraid to tell her mother about the abuse she was experiencing daily from her mother’s boyfriend, Graciela remained silent. If she told anyone, the man threatened, he would kill Graciela’s mother – his own girlfriend. But when Graciela got sick, her mother took her to a hospital. A medical examination revealed that Graciela was pregnant. Silence was impossible, and she confessed who had been abusing her.
When the suspect was accused by Graciela, he became even more violent towards Graciela and her mother. Then Graciela’s older brother, 16, stepped forward, admitting that he had witnessed the abuse through a hole in the corrugated aluminum door. The family filed an official complaint, and a warrant for the suspect’s arrest was issued. The search for the suspect culminated in this week’s arrest – and he will await the trial from prison.
Today, Graciela is safe and living in a supportive children’s home where she is learning how to raise her own daughter. She continues to receive trauma-focused counseling and support from IJM.
MORE BREAKING NEWS FROM GUATEMALA: IJM Guatemala celebrated another victory in a case of sexual violence against a 4-year-old girl: a man who had rented out a room in his home to 4-year-old Alia* and her mother was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison for sexually assaulting the child. IJM social workers will continue to support the family to ensure Alia grows up in a stable environment.
*A pseudonym has been used. Real name and casework documentation on file with IJM.