What I See
In Guatemala, 4 women disappear a day. Every year there are 56,000 complaints of violence against women–it is the most reported crime in Guatemala.
Guatemala is a country with deeply rooted and conservative cultural characteristics, with a patriarchal culture where men continue to have privileges. Women–especially adolescents and girls–continue to have very few opportunities for development.
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Women and girls are also the most affected by sexual violence that interrupts their life plan. Guatemala is one of the 6 countries considered the most dangerous in the world for women to live. With little development index for them, it is the second country with the highest gender inequality in Latin America. It is also the second country with the least human development in Latin America.
Girls are those who continue without going to school compared to boys. Of the 100% of cases of sexual violence attended by ASOGEN, 85% to 90% belong to underage girls-adolescents. Of these, 100% have indicated that they do not want to be mothers.
From only January to October 2018, 1,900 pregnancies occurred in girls aged 10 to 14 years; of these cases, 100% are sexual crimes, 70% of sexual violence against girls comes from a close relative, and of these, 30% is the father of the sexual offender.
In Guatemala access to justice is also very precarious, it is more acute when it comes to victims of women, rural women, monolinguals and indigenous people. This is why ASOGEN tries to fight for women and over all girls have access to justice and comprehensive treatment. Many of these rural, monolingual and indigenous women are usually of limited resources and could not pay a lawyer to carry out the defense of the case–nor do they have the ability to pay a psychologist for emotional recovery, which is very important.
We are fighting inequality between men and women through processes of education, training and empowerment of women. We want to change the patriarchal cultural environment, teaching our children and the new generations equality and equity between genders. We also pursue a process of access to justice through strategic litigation and political advocacy for compliance with legislation in favor of the eradication of violence against women in Guatemala.
What I’m Proud Of
We have cared for more than 2,600 women survivors of violence in the last 9 years. And we’ve trained more than 20,000 thousand people (including men, women, youth and adolescents) on their sexual and reproductive rights and the prevention of violence.
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We were the driving organization of the specialized court against femicide in the department of Chimaltenango, as well as the organization that implemented the Comprehensive Support Center for women survivors of violence in Chimaltenango. We currently have a temporary shelter to protect the survivors of violence who are worried that their lives are at risk.
I Feel Happy When
The work that we have carried out in recent years has been very satisfying, it has even helped us to better identify the risk situations that women, girls and adolescents are going through.
For example, one day, the director of Asogen was traveling in an extra urban bus (a chicken truck) from Guatemala City to Chimaltenango. When she got on the bus there was a murmur. The people on the bus were looking to the right side of the bus where an adult man around 45 years old was drunk and …
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…where an adult man around 45 years old was drunk and trying to hug and kiss a girl of perhaps 10 years old. Everyone on the bus was uncomfortable, but nobody did anything.
Immediately, Danessa got on Whatsapp and called one of the ASOGEN lawyers (who also belonged to the National Civil Police) and told him what was happening. During the call, the Police managed to intercept the bus. The man turned out to be the biological father, but had kidnapped the girl. Thanks to that call and communication all the way, it was possible to save the girl and arrest the kidnapper. The girl was returned to her mother.
What’s Surprising Is
We are the only organization at the department level in Chimaltenango which provides comprehensive care to women survivors of violence–including a shelter space to protect women’s lives.
Our work is important for the region, but we are currently with zero resources to create an immovable shelter—so it can be a constant protection of women. We also have few resources to attend to the medical, social, legal and psychological needs of women survivors of violence.
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We lack resources to cover comprehensive care personnel and to cover legal, psychological and medical expenses.
Ideally, we would like to have a house of our own, where we can remain immovable. Women would always look for us in the same place and not have to move from one place to another. Because we are moving, we lose contact with some of them and it takes them a long time to meet again.
Our dream is to have our own house for ASOGEN, this would guarantee prompt and fulfilled access to justice for women, and it would facilitate many processes, including legal ones.
A Direct Grant
An unrestricted grant makes it easier for us to use the funds. We can also prioritize the most immediate expenses of ASOGEN that donors don’t usually cover—for example, the operational expenses that we have every month, such as personnel payment, operation payment of the office. The list goes on.
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Make a Direct Grant?