Together, they broke their silence. One-by-one, 25 female survivors of rape, forced abortion and other forms of violence in the context of war testified before the Guatemalan National Reparation Program. They came to reveal the truth, seek justice and most importantly, to heal.
For almost three decades, sexual violence against poor, illiterate and indigenous Mayan women was used as a war tactic by the Guatemalan military. Women and girls who survived reported depression, anxiety, nightmares, low self-esteem, cognitive impairment and substance abuse.
Determined to promote healing, Global Fund grantee partner, Colectiva Actoras de Cambio, trains experts in psychotherapy to help survivors of sexual and reproductive violence. The collective gathers women in small, local groups to tell their stories. Through the eyes, words and experiences of Mayan rape survivors, they recover painful memories in hopes of reestablishing a life free of guilt, shame and other emotions that typically torment survivors of sexual violence.
Research shows that the ongoing psychosocial support provided by Actors de Cambio influences women’s sense of dignity and self-confidence. So much so, that they are now able to demand justice from the Guatemalan courts and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.