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Post-intervention, all expressed satisfaction from their role and saw it as a positive experience. They appreciated learning new knowledge and skills, helping other women, and making a meaningful contribution to their community. Initially I was very anxious, but after a while it became easier, and the women liked all the sessions, and some of them now come to me to talk about their problems”. A total of 176 women in the eight participating communities met eligibility criteria. One community and its 16 participants withdrew from the study prior to randomisation.

  • One cannot do a literal interpretation; one has to know the context.” Thus, even with an interpreter, indigenous women’s experiences were less likely to be adequately conveyed in courtrooms.
  • Our study removes some access barriers by providing contraception in the home.
  • Our plans to promote participant retention and to complete follow-up include having the nurse teams conduct the 3- and 12-month surveys on their own enrollees from their own communities.
  • We plan to use descriptive statistics to compare our other secondary outcomes between study arms .

His father sat him down one day and bluntly told him it was time—it was his turn to travel to the United States and do as his father had done. Garbage collectors found her body, wrapped in plastic, next to a canal in Guatemala City.

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Women were part of the plunder of war, and raping them was a way of demonstrating power. It became an expression of victory, a way of thoroughly pretty Guatemalan girls humiliating the conquered and punishing whole villages, debasing those who were considered the weakest according to patriarchal standards.

The organization was founded 12 years in the past by a Tulane University PhD scholar, Anne Kraemer Diaz, to address unique limitations rural, indigenous girls face in securing quality well being care. Most (80 %) of this population would not communicate Spanish as their first language—there are 21 Mayan languages spoken in Guatemala—but, medical care is typically solely supplied in Spanish. Maya Well being Alliance, based to fill that gap in well being entry, has since grown into the second largest well being supplier in Guatemala, seeing 20,000 patients a 12 months. All services are offered in patients’ native languages and include sexual and reproductive well being care by way of girls’s health clinics. Our data show that many first-time indigenous mothers are willing to deliver in a health facility.

Finding Virginia’s attacker guilty of physical violence in the public sphere, the judge sentenced him to six years in prison and mandated that he pay $1,350 to cover Virginia’s legal costs. Although Virginia’s father challenged societal norms in his open support of his daughter and incurred significant financial and emotional costs in assisting her, the judge denied his requested reparations, arguing that there was inadequate proof of costs. Given the informal nature of agricultural work and the lack of receipts for transportation and other services in rural areas, it would have been difficult to prove financial costs. The decision to deny Virginia’s father reparations overlooked this reality and also failed to acknowledge that the trauma was felt at a group level and that Virginia’s navigation of the state required extensive familial support. The judge—one of the few indigenous judges in the country—also did not accord the testimony of Virginia’s parents any probative value because of the technicality that they both claimed to have finished their statements at the exact same time. The judge stated that the prosecutors had failed to prove that the accused’s actions were aimed at intimidating the victim, diminishing her self-esteem, or controlling her.

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Women also have served on truth commissions, assisted prosecutors, and provided witness testimonies about abductions and systematic sexual violence. Their work to improve the rule of law will address some of the underlying causes of Guatemala’s instability and contribute to long-term security. In the end, the land reform was stymied by a CIA-sponsored military coup in 1954. That coup in turn sparked Guatemala’s bloody civil war which lasted until 1996. A post-war UN-led Truth Commission Report concluded that during the conflict, an estimated 200,000 people were killed or disappeared, that rape was commonly used as a weapon of war, and that the Guatemalan state bore responsibility for the majority of the atrocities. It also concluded that agents of the state committed acts of genocide, since 83% of their victims were Maya and most of the conflict’s 626 documented massacres were of Maya communities.

In other cases, army officers considered rape as a means of humiliating and eliminating “the mothers of future guerrilla fighters.” Rape was also offered as a bargaining chip—a way women could stay alive. During the war, during the genocide committed against the Mayan people, the suffering of women due to the conquerors’ patriarchal patterns was beyond words.

The Guatemalan peace accords contain 28 commitments to advance women’s rights, particularly those of indigenous women. During the conflict, an army of around 40,000 men and a civilian defence force of approximately one million were trained to commit acts of violence against women.

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The groundbreaking case resulted in the conviction of two former military officers of crimes against humanity and granted 18 reparation measures to the women survivors and their community. The abuelas of Sepur Zarco, as the women are respectfully referred to, are now waiting to experience justice. Justice, for them, includes education for the children of their community, access to land, a health-care clinic and such measures that will end the abject poverty their community has endured across generations.

Post-intervention, intervention compared to control women had a significantly higher MHC-SF score (greater wellbeing; 45.8 ± 10.5 vs. 40.2 ± 12.5; p-value 0.008) and a significantly higher self-care sub-score (greater self-efficacy in self-care; 9.2 ± 2.5 vs. 8.4 ± 2.0; p-value 0.049) . However, there were no differences in the HSCL-25 scores or sub-scores, in the total self-efficacy score, or in the engagement in infant stimulation activities score. Study participants were easily identified based on the defined eligibility criteria. The majority (73%) were selected for living in extreme poverty, 40% for experiencing psychosocial distress, and 3% for having family problems (categories are non-exclusive). 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.

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Follow news related to the UN’s independent human rights experts on Twitter @UN_SPExperts. Soon, they reached the side of a highway, where a container truck sat idling. Inside, men, women and children were packed tight, with hardly enough space to move.

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