“I felt good because at least he would be in a place where he couldn’t do anymore harm.”
As a 10-year-old, Belinda’s biggest worry was her homework. But on one particular afternoon, as she waited outside her friend’s house in a sprawl of Guatemala City, this worry quickly faded when the man in the white delivery truck started approaching.
In broad daylight, this man assaulted Belinda.
“That day I hurt so much that I couldn’t sit or lie down,” Belinda recalls.
Because they were poor with little access to the justice system, Belinda and her family never expected to see justice. In fact, most victims of sexual assault in Guatemala don’t. But supporters like you helped make justice possible for her.
Belinda received a top-notch lawyer free of charge to support her in court and the trauma-focused care she needed. In partnership with local law enforcement and government, this man received an unheard-of sentence in cases like Belinda’s—12 years in prison.
Her case is now a glimpse of hope in a broken justice system. You make this possible. Each gift you purchase—like the ones on this page—creates tangible change.
“I felt good because at least he would be in a place where he couldn’t do anymore harm,” Belinda said.
Today, Belinda is an advocate for children’s rights, sharing her story publicly so that children like her are protected from violence and free to live their lives in safety.
IJM has trained hundreds of judges and prosecutors on new practices. They “make justice possible for so many children in Guatemala, especially the children living in poverty who rely on the most basic legal services,” said Pablo Villeda, Regional President, Latin America.
* A pseudonym