In a piece for El País, Fátima, a Guatemalan survivor of sexual violence, tells her story and explains her decision to seek justice by joining a Center case. Fátima’s case against Guatemala is one of four that the Center brought to the United Nations Human Rights Committee in 2019 as part of a strategy called “Son niñas, no madres” (“They are girls, not mothers”) that seeks to reform Latin American abortion law and prevent girls in the region from becoming pregnant against their will. In all four cases, the petitioners were 14 years old or younger when they were raped and impregnated by older men in positions of power.
In the piece, Fátima describes the degrading treatment she experienced from the medical, educational and justice systems in Guatemala, such as doctors commenting that she was “good at opening [her] legs,” educators turning her away from school due to her pregnancy, and authorities repeatedly forcing her to relive her trauma. Now a teacher herself, Fátima is committed to educating young people about consent and encouraging them to speak up without fear.
“There is a lack of empathy and immediacy in my country’s justice system. There is also very little information and security for women, girls and adolescents and we continue to be vulnerable to acts of violence—specifically, sexual violence,” Fátima writes. “I am here now, speaking out for those girls who have not been able to do so. . . I can be their voice. I can help provide spaces that allow us to close the gap that exists between our governments and a society that seeks better security and justice for all.”
Read the article here:
- “I now realize that I am not guilty, that I am just another victim,” El País, 07.13.23