Demecia Yat

Is one of 15 women survivors of sexual violence during the internal armed conflict in Guatemala that lasted 36 years (1954 – 1996). From 2011 to 2016, the women, respectfully called the abuelas (grandmothers) in their small community near the Sepur Zarco outpost, fought their case in the nation’s highest court.

The abuelas’ pursuit of justice resulted in the conviction of two former military officers of crimes against humanity and granted 18 reparation measures to the women survivors and their communities.

Today, the abuelas demand to experience the full scope of what justice means for them: education, access to land, a health-care clinic, and an end to the poverty and discrimination that their community has endured across generations.

“My message to today’s generation is that they should speak out against any violation of their rights,” says Yat. “I want everyone to know what happened in Sepur Zarco so that it doesn’t happen again.”

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