Guatemala City: IJM Guatemala has developed a core group of volunteer advocates called Mi Historia Importa (My Story Matters ) in Guatemala City. MHI empowers adult survivors of sexual violence who suffered as children to share their stories and use their voices as a means of helping other survivors and advocating within their community for an end to violence against children. IJM social workers and psychologists accompany the survivors in the program, who are provided a spectrum of activities ranging from anonymous activities, such as creating artwork, to public advocacy.
Survivor leaders from MHI play an important role in IJM efforts to educate Guatemalan policy makers on violence against women and children and advocate for policies to combat these crimes. For example, a MHI participant joined IJM in a Ministry of Education event in 2018 to encourage teachers to report instances of child sexual violence. The MHI participant, herself a teacher, shared her story of having suffered sexual violence as a child, describing her inability to find an adult who was willing to help her file a report to the police. She called on each teacher to take a stand for their students and to pursue formal reports when a child in their classroom has been victimized.
MHI member Jakelin Mayen, who was is also a staff member in the IJM Guatemala office, travelled to the U.S. in October, 2019 where she delivered the keynote to join 300 American volunteers at an advocacy event in Washington D.C. Pictured above with U.S. Congress Rep. Norma Torres, Ms. Mayen joined these volunteers on Capitol Hill to advocate for passage of the Central American Women and Children’s Protection Act (S.1781), legislation to build the capacity of Central American governments to combat violence against women and children. Ms. Mayen is a prominent survivor advocate in Guatemala, where she has met with government leaders, including Guatemala’s attorney general, and been interviewed on national media. A video of her story, La Luchadora can be found here: