Lourdes

“Lourdes stopped playing, stopped running. She threw her dolls into the river.”

Text and photo by Sandra Sebastian, journalist, Gutemala.

 

Dora, Lourdes mother, is crying when she tells about the changes she witnessed in her daughter seven years ago. “She was never the same again”, she says.

Lourdes was only 9 years old when Bequer Daniel Alvarado Morales (then 37 years old), raped her in his car. He was a “family friend”, gained her parents trust over a longer period and then one day suggested to take the kids to the movies. The parents could barely make ends meet, so they eagerly accepted his offer. Lourdes and her two younger brothers were very excited; it was their first time out of Coatepeque, a very hot town of Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.

“I never thought this would happen to me”, recalls Lourdes. “I was only 9. He deceived me... I asked him to stop because he was hurting me but instead he grabbed me even harder and told me to wait for the pain to go away”.

But it never went away. From that day until today, now 16 years old, Lourdes thinks about the rape and the pain at all times, every day.

Becquer raped her twice more, on April 9th and May 2nd 2012. On the night of May 2nd, when the pain was unbearable, Lourdes could not hold back her tears. Her mother heard her crying and immediately took her to the hospital. The doctor informed her that her daughter was raped and had herpes type II, a sexually transmitted disease with no cure.

In addition to the pain, Lourdes was trembling of fear. She was afraid to give away the identity of the rapist. She thought it was all her fault.

On May 4th Lourdes’s family lodged a complaint in the Public Prosecutor’s office. The case was not progressing, and the family could not afford a lawyer to take care of the process. Luckily, the legal team of Mujeres Transformando el Mundo (MTM, Women Transforming the World) offered to take the case and provided psychological support to Lourdes, her mother and brothers. Thanks to the evidence presented by the MTM lawyers, in addition to the testimonies of the kids, on November 17th 2013, Bequer was sentenced to 54 years in prison for continued sexual violence.

“I never thought this would happen to me. I was only nine.”

 

Going back to hell

After the trial, Lourdes tried to rebuild her life with love and support of her family. “I thought that the judgement was going to give me the opportunity to forget Bequer. To make life bearable.”

But in 2018 the Supreme Court of Justice overturned the judgement and opened a new trial.  Lourdes had to declare once again about the sexual abuse she was subjected to and her brothers had to testify. 

“I’m asking the court to believe me. It was a very painful experience that changed my life forever. I demand that this man pays with prison for what he did to me. If released he will harm other girls”, she says firmly, even though her eyes express sadness.

The first process was complicated; the second one - even harder. She had to tell every detail of what happened again while the rapist was there, so close to her. “It was like having finally come out of hell and now going back in.”

“I just want to feel free.”

I want to feel free

The new trial made Lourdes have severe herpes outbreaks. The mixture of fear, stress and sadness caused the disease to reach even her feet.

The family lives in grandfather´s house which is on sale. Lourdes, her parents and brothers occupy one room. Lourdes helps her mother with the chores and looks after her younger brothers. She enjoys watching telenovelas occasionally, entertaining her mind with the lives of others.

She hardly ever leaves the house, she dropped out of school. The sexual abuse and disease that she suffered added up to the rejection and discrimination by the community and school.

She was not allowed to use the school’s bathroom because “they didn't want me to infect other girls” Lourdes recalls. “I was humiliated and mocked at school and on the street” she adds. She felt that every door was closing in front of her, but she found an open door, as well.

“MTM has been a blessing in my life. They have helped me learn so many things, to have new experiences and to be able to know other girls that have gone through the same experiences. We understand each other and lift each other up. Thanks to the psychologists of MTM, I was able to heal. I understood that it was never my fault”, she says while expressing her gratitude and affection to MTM.

“I have dreams now”, Lourdes says and smiles. “I want to become a stylist, or a nurse, or maybe a pastry chef, or a tailor…”.

“I just want to feel free. I want to live.”

 

MTM is one of FOKUS’ partner organizations in Guatemala. Together we work to provide justice for women and girls who have experienced violence. 

 


Les flere historier

Adriana Benjumea Rua

Colombia

"The best way to eradicate sexual violence is to never get tired of mentioning it."

Demesia Yat

Guatemala

"Jeg kaller på alle verdens kvinner, også kvinner i Norge, til å stå samlet i kampen mot vold."

Lourdes

Guatemala

“Lourdes stopped playing, stopped running. She threw her dolls into the river.”

Suzana Anthony

Tanzania

«Jeg har selv vært i en situasjon hvor jeg var desperat etter å få hjelp», sier Suzana. I dag hjelper hun andre kvinner ut av fortvilte situasjoner.

Monica Mapesa

Tanzania

“Vi er ikke lenger blinde for urettferdighetene.» Monica har tro på at store fremskritt kan skje for kvinner i Tanzania.

Podcast 3:16

Spotify/iTunes

«Vi kan ikke trekke oss ut av Colombia selv om kameralyset blir slått av.» Har det blitt noe bedre i Colombia etter fredsavtalen i 2016?

Podcast 2:16

Spotify/iTunes

Etter 50 år med borgerkrig, ble en fredsavtale vedtatt i Colombia i 2016. Avtalen er unik i sin involvering og inkludering av kvinner.

Podcast 1:16

Spotify/iTunes

Podcast: I dag starter #16daysofactivism. KFUK-KFUM Global har laget podcast som retter søkelyset på vold mot kvinner. Ny episode hver dag! Følg med!

Teddy Charles Magoma

Tanzania

«Vi tolererer ikke lenger mishandling og trakassering i vårt lokalsamfunn,» sier Teddy. Hun er en av de lokale aktivistene som hver dag kjemper for å få slutt på vold mot kvinner.

Sepur Zarco

Guatemala

VIDEO: To militære tjenestemenn dømt for overgrep mot menneskeheten etter å ha utsatt urfolkskvinner for seksualisert vold og slaveri i Guatemala.

Ismala

Sør-Sudan

Ismala fra Sør-Sudan bor i en flyktningleir i Uganda. Mannen hennes er konstant utro, men hvis hun konfronterer ham, risikerer hun å bli slått og mishandlet.

Fridian

Tanzania

«Det finnes ingen fordeler ved omskjæring av jenter.» Fridian pleide å gjennomføre omskjæringer. Nå jobber hun for å bekjempe den skadelige praksisen.

Mariam

Tanzania

Tretti år gamle Mariam er trygg og lykkelig. Etter 10 voldelige år fikk hun endelig nok mot og hjelp til å forlate ektemannen. Men volden ga henne varig funksjonsnedsettelse.

Aili Keskitalo

Norge

Sametingspresident Aili Keskitalo om hvorfor vi trenger en internasjonal dag mot vold mot kvinner, og om behovet for at voldsutsatte kvinner må få reelt rettsvern.

Shida

Tanzania

Shidas mann tok med seg alt de eide da han flyttet inn med en annen kvinne. Da Shida forsøkte å hindre ham fra å ta med seg de to siste stolene, brakk han armen hennes.

Selena

Guatemala

«Hvis vi ikke kan se verdien av oss selv, vil ingen andre heller gjøre det». For fem år siden brøt Selena ut av et voldelig ekteskap. Nå leder hun organisasjonen som hjalp henne.

Joy

Kenya

Joy er blitt en slags «mentor» for unge kvinner og menn i hjembyen Kisumu hvor  hun driver opplysningsarbeid om seksuell- og kjønnsbasert vold.

Jeronim

Kenya

Jeronim forsøkte å ta sitt eget liv før hun til slutt klarte å bryte ut av det voldelige forholdet. I dag underviser hun unge jenter og kvinner om rettighetene deres.

Getene

Etiopia

«Etter at jeg begynte å tjene egne penger, har mannen min sluttet å slå meg». For Getene endret livet seg på alle måter da hun ble med i en frivillig kvinneorganisasjon.

Amarech

Etiopia

«Da jeg ba om penger for å kjøpe stearinlys, ble han rasende og dynket meg i bensin». Amarechs ektemann viste seg å være en helt annen enn den han hadde utgitt seg for.