Latin America

IJM Guatemala Wins 2-Year Battle in Court and Matilda Heals in Safety

GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA – IJM Guatemala social worker Miriam Cruz was eager to call Matilda's* mother and share the news: The 2-year court battle had ended with a just ruling. The man who had repeatedly raped Matilda had been sentenced to twelve years in prison without parole.

The relief was obvious in the woman's voice as she replied to Miriam, who has supported the family in the difficult months since the abuse was discovered: "If it weren't for you, we could have never made it this far."

Belle’s Brave Testimony Secures Justice: Child Molester Convicted in Guatemala

GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA – Belle* took a deep breath. The 13-year-old girl was sitting in an unfamiliar courtroom in Guatemala. The defense lawyer had just asked her a simple question, to point out a man. This was a culminating moment for Belle, who had been abused by the man in 2009.

She lifted her hand and pointed directly at the perpetrator, who had been an appliance delivery man in her small neighborhood. Belle spoke in a clear voice: "It was that man there." Then the young girl sank into the bench, overcome with a flood of emotions.

Guatemala: Repeat Sexual Offender Given Landmark Sentence for Abuse of Children

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala – Only seven years old, Haana* found that the most dangerous place for her was one where she should have been the safest – her own home. Her father, a violent and abusive man, began subjecting her to regular sexual assaults. Fearful and confused, Haana eventually ran away from her home to escape the abuse to live with relatives. When she was 15 years old, she returned to find that her father had not changed his abusive tendencies – instead he had redirected the psychological threats and sexual abuse to her younger sister, Ariana*.