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It was an historic achievement in the fight to stop violence against women and secure justice for wartime sexual violence. After 22 hearings, on 2 March 2016, the court convicted two former military officers of crimes against humanity on counts of rape, murder and slavery, and granted 18 reparation measures to the women survivors and their communities. This was the first time in history that a national court prosecuted sexual slavery during conflict using national legislation and international criminal law. Guatemalans continue to clamour for justice for the Hogar Seguro fire victims. At the same time, indigenous women around the country have been fighting for justice for the use of rape as a weapon of war by military and paramilitary forces during the armed conflict. The government must come to understand women’s rights in Guatemala and must push to find the resources necessary to promote the alleviation of violence against women. There is a growing movement to provide justice and security for women in Guatemala; however, resources and support are needed to end femicide and promote women’s empowerment.

  • 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.
  • Soldiers now are assigned public safety duties that would normally be reserved for police forces.
  • Although the use of non-mental health specialists is a potentially low-cost strategy to increase women’s access to evidence-based psychosocial care, its sustainability and scalability will need to be further explored .

Without the proper collection, testing, and presentation of evidence, to include victim and witness testimony, courts are unable to fairly render judgments against accused persons, and many cases are dismissed by the MP prior to a preliminary hearing or trial before the court. Although acting within its prosecutorial discretion, it is unclear whether the cases dismissed by the MP actually lacked a factual basis sufficient for prosecution from the outset, or if they were just poorly investigated. This also raises serious questions about the willingness and capacity to prioritize and adjudicate complaints of gender-based violence in ordinary courts. The court also held that the Guatemalan state had to provide collective reparations for the benefits of the village of Sepur Zarco and the surrounding villages. The violence committed against Sepur Zarco’s women and their families seems to have been a response to their attempts to settle on and get title to the land, particularly in the late 1970s. According to an expert witness in the the Sepur Zarco trial, Juan Carlos Peláez Villalobos, the military was called in and the indigenous peasant farmers were denounced as “subversives”.

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Guatemala’s indigenous women manifest some of the worst health indicators worldwide ; three in four live below the poverty line . Women of childbearing age living in indigenous areas show the highest rates of depression and anxiety in the country .

Now I take a bit of time every day to see myself and make myself feel better about who I am and what I know how to do. I now try not to place so much importance on what they say and excuse myself from people who are being offensive. Research ethics boards at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute and Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama in Guatemala approved the study. We used independent sample t-tests comparing intervention vs control on the four mean psychosocial scores and their Dating Guatemala City sub-scores to test for the potential effect of the intervention compared to the control group. For each participating community, names of consenting women were put in a box and 12 names were drawn randomly to join the intervention group. Remaining names were allocated to the control group with a delayed circle intervention. Each item scores on a scale from zero (I can’t do it) to three , allowing for continuous assessment of childcare self-efficacy, self-care self-efficacy, and total self-efficacy.

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Postpartum contraceptive satisfaction will be measured as the proportion of women in each arm of the trial who self-report satisfaction with that method when they complete their 3-month and 12-month survey. The timepoint for this will be 3 and 12 months following enrollment in the study. Postpartum contraceptive continuation will be measured as the proportion of women in each arm of the trial who self-report using a contraceptive method when they complete their 12-month survey.

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Lucia Xiloj Cui is a Maya Q’echi’ lawyer fighting for justice, specifically in sexual abuse cases committed during Guatemala’s civil war. Guatemala’s Indigenous peoples make up 60% of the country’s population, yet somehow Indigenous people—and especially Indigenous women—rarely made it into history books.

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When Lane was 15, she got involved with an older man who was not only controlling, but also physically and sexually abusive. “He knew what he was doing. He isolated me from my family and friends. I know what it is to live with violence from an early age,” she says.

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