GUATEMALA CITY – IJM Guatemala's psychologist Miriam Cruz has helped many children prepare to share the truth in court. She remembers standing with brothers Marlon,* 16, and Adrian,* 13. They were getting ready to enter the Gesell Chamber, a special room set up in Guatemalan courts so that children can testify in a comfortable place, instead of in the courtroom where the suspect is present.
MANILA, THE PHILIPPINES – When Marisol* first made the long drive from Manila to the provincial town nearly 80 miles from her home, she thought she was on her way to a better life. The 17-year-old girl was going to be a domestic helper, a chance to make a living and gain independence from the poverty that defined her young life.
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.
KIGALI, RWANDA – In a precedent-setting case, a Kigali man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for sexually assaulting a 5-year-old Rwandan girl.
"[This case] will pave the way in many ways," says one of IJM Rwanda's lawyers, James Nuwagaba. He explained that the judge accepted testimonies about the abuse from the child as well as an expert witness – not always the case in Rwandan trials, even though the law allows for testimonies from the victim and expert witnesses like psychologists to stand as evidence.