I met this young girl P. at one of the remote areas of Guatemala. She was nine months pregnant and was due for delivery anytime. P. dropped out of school after 7th grade and currently helps her mother make sweet potatoes and tamales and sell them in their village. After interviewing P. along with her midwife we sat down to have some oranges. During the chit chat P. confided that her pregnancy was a result of rape by a man who works at her father’s farm. When her parents got to know about the incident they were furious and went to the perpetrator’s house. The man blamed P. for laughing too much and inciting him to rape her. The perpetrator continues to live in the neighbourhood and P. never got justice nor received any counselling. When I was hugging her before leaving the village, she said that she was very happy that she could share her woes with us. “No one talks to us and I can never share my feelings to anyone, not even my mother”. I left the place with a heavy heart and a feeling of guilt that I was not in a position to help her. I think many of us who work in such premises feel the same way.
– Smita Sharma