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Betzy thought her sexual assault was normal

You can help more survivors like Betzy find freedom and healing

Betzy* grew up seeing sexual and physical violence all the time at home in Guatemala. She reflects that it was “an everyday thing that happens to everybody.”

After all, she doesn’t even remember how old she was when the abuse started.

Whether she was too young to remember or she blocked it out of her memory—abuse was always there. Betzy’s mom tried to find a solution. She left home with her children because she just couldn’t tolerate the violence anymore.

But no matter where they went, abuse and violence followed.

Then, when she was only 14, Betzy was raped by a relative and became pregnant with her son. The family and community blamed Betzy, and she was forced to leave.

Sadly, it’s not just women in Guatemala that have similar stories to Betzy’s. 1 in 3 women worldwide have been subjected to either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime**.

Betzy thought her abuse was normal because she saw it every day. Because it’s a reality for hundreds of millions of women around the world.

But the story doesn’t stop there.

Betzy Santiz

Betzy was supported by caring community members. They gave her a place to stay, supported her as she finished high school and gave her the love she needed to raise her son.

It was a long, hard journey, but it was caring for her son that gave Betzy determination to move forward.

After Betzy built her life back up, she found a safe place to build up her story. She found an IJM supported group for survivors.

These groups create safe spaces for survivors. Women are able to help each other, share their stories with courage and write new futures for themselves and future generations.

Thanks to IJM and kind-hearted supporters like you, Betzy found a community, a safe place and a family through this group. She has grown and now feels empowered to invest in fighting for justice for other women just like her.

Betzy proudly and lovingly shares this message for survivors everywhere:

“Be brave! You will overcome this! Love yourself, know yourself and give yourself the chance of being happy.”

*A pseudonym

You can help survivors like Betzy find freedom and healing by making a caring gift today.

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