It has been my privilege to travel to Guatemala with the Seattle International Foundation (SIF) to meet people working to address violence against women and children in four different states. What a great way to spend the days leading up to International Women’s Day!
Guatemala established an extensive femicide law in 2008 to address interfamilial violence, rape, and child abuse. Claudia Paz y Paz, the first woman attorney general of Guatemala has established femicide courts and specialized prosecutors offices to bring justice to survivors and challenge the perception that anyone can get away with violating women. SIF will be funding community-based organizations serving survivors in order to help build the supportive infrastructure they need in their community.
Meeting the many dedicated people in Guatemala working to empower women has been a wonderful experience. Although the context is different, many of the struggles that these activists face are similar to the challenges people dedicated to ending violence everywhere face: scarce resources, survivors with complex needs, enlisting support from other institutions, and finding sustainable ways to continue the work. I recognized their dedication, passion, strength, and determination, and most of all their creativity—as very much like that of advocates, activists, and institutional change makers here at home. In that sense I always knew I was with friends and compañeras throughout my time in Guatemala.