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Young girls often would be forced to give up their education and be constricted to a life devoted to marriage, however with the marriage age raised young women would be free to pursue other interests. The leader of The Angélica Fuentes Foundation states that it is her hope that this initiative promotes gender equality and an increase in opportunity for young girls in Guatemala, as well as in other Latin American countries. The Center for Gender and Refugee Studies investigates and reports on sexual violence in Guatemala, working with human rights advocates, government groups, and community groups based in Guatemala. They have published papers on the ineffectiveness of Guatemala’s Law Against Femicide and Other Forms of Violence Against Women, passed in 2008.

  • A year ago, as one of his first acts in office, President Alejandro Giammattei slashed the budget of the so-called Presidential Secretariat for Women, which is meant to protect women’s rights.
  • They are raped and experience physical and psychological trauma in brothels, homes, and other locations.
  • The Guatemalan state apologized and recognized that government agents were responsible for her murder.
  • Patricia Yoj, a native Mayan lawyer, says that “even the representative of the National Indemnity Programme that was established to make reparations to victims of the conflict has said that he doesn’t believe in the rapes”.
  • Here in Guatemala, the homicide rate for women is more than three times the global average.

Comadronas stand by the health centre in Santa Maria Chiquimula in Guatemala. María Toj, 70, another victim, says the violence hasn’t stopped, but she is still determined to speak out. “They tortured me and my son. They burned everything, leaving me with nothing but my dead husband and my guatemalan chicks pain. I hope our efforts will stop this from ever happening again.” Others have faced horrific retributions from their attackers for their willingness to give evidence. “They point their fingers at us, they insult us, and some of the men who raped us now laugh at us,” one victim says.

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Many women from my community have received medicine, but there are sicknesses that cannot be treated here…we dream of a hospital that can treat all our illnesses,” explained Rosario Xo, one of the abuelas. Under the presidency of Álvaro Arzú, the Guatemalan peace accords are signed, ending the 36-year-long conflict. The Guatemalan peace accords contain 28 commitments to advance women’s rights, particularly those of indigenous women. Wetherborn’s grandparents moved from Jamaica to Guatemala to work for the United Fruit Company. Growing up in Amatitlan, she was part of the only Black family in town and endured racist bullying at school. Her world changed when she found Angela Davis’s work and logged on a Yahoo! Chat to meet with a group of Afro-descendant women from Latin America and the Caribbean.

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A bid to amend the law three years ago was vehemently rejected. Abortions, which have always been a taboo topic in Guatemala, continue to be considered a criminal offense; many women end up in prison for years for having had one. “Violence against women is part of everyday life here; it is normal, and no one is surprised when a new femicide comes to light,” said Quintela. “Even as young girls, women are just objects that are sexually abused by their uncles, grandfathers or brothers. The result is thousands of teenage pregnancies every year.”

The Guatemalan Conflict

The fluorescent glare of the overhead lights continued day and night, troubling their sleep. A day later, they boarded a raft and entered the United States. In early November, they arrived in the Mexican border town of Reynosa, and were spirited into a safe house. The days went by in a blur, a log of images snatched from the fog of exhaustion. The $6,500 was enough to buy passage for him and his youngest daughter, then 12. Traveling with a young child was cheaper, and often meant better treatment by American officials. His oldest brother, Robert Ramirez, argued that Gehovany had acted in self-defense and killed Lubia’s mother accidentally.

“Gender violence has been used as a weapon to eliminate ethnic groups, and that’s genocide,” she says. The army and the members of the paramilitary “civil self-defence patrols” tortured the women they didn’t kill in order to stigmatise them.

In June, she finished sixth grade at the local school, which she loves. Her older brother keeps the graduation certificate on the small dining table. His daughter play-fought with her nephew, who never tired, no matter how many handfuls of grass she stuffed down his shirt, or how many times he retreated in tears. Mr. Sasvin Dominguez said he and his daughter spent four days in Texas, in a facility with no windows.

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From 2006 to 2011, the budget the military was allotted went from sixty-three million United States dollars to one hundred and seventy-five million dollars. Otto Pérez Molina became the first military official to be elected as president. Shortly after being elected president in 2012, Pérez increased the role of the military in fighting crime. Soldiers now are assigned public safety duties that would normally be reserved for police forces.

With banners saying “the pandemic has a woman’s face,” protesters aimed to draw attention to how women suffered during the COVID crisis. Cases of domestic violence have risen worldwide during the coronavirus pandemic, as isolation and confinement prompted sexual and gender-based violence. The few facilities for women where they can receive psychological and legal assistance after suffering sexual abuse or find temporary shelter are neglected by the government.