Evelin loved spending her time on the cancha, or soccer field, near her home in Bolivia. It was a place of peace and joy for her.
But one day, it became exactly the opposite.
She was sitting in a park on a beautiful summer day. In the distance, she could see the soccer field. It was calm. Peaceful.
…Until she was approached by a stranger.
“He told me he was a policeman,” she says. After searching her, the man claimed he’d found drugs in her bag. He placed her under arrest and forced her into his car.
“He took me to a place I didn’t know,” Evelin remembers. “That’s when he abused me.”
Help girls like Evelin find healing and bring their perpetrators to justice.
She was raped in a ravine off the main highway.
Afterwards, the man let her go.
Evelin ran up a steep hill and over a fence.
She was scared. She was alone. She was trying to catch her breath. She was trying to make sense of what had just happened.
But Evelin didn’t give up. Neither her racing thoughts nor the difficult terrain could keep her from fighting back.
Near the highway, she recognized her attacker’s car driving away. She quickly pulled a pen out of her backpack and wrote the license plate number on her arm.
When she got home, she told her dad about the attack. He contacted the police and reported the license plate. This critical piece of information allowed the authorities to identify her attacker immediately.
A few hours later, he was in custody.
Help support and protect young survivors like Evelin.
Evelin’s quick thinking and determination make her story a hopeful one.
But, unfortunately, it’s a very uncommon story.
“In Bolivia, it can take between 2 to 6 months to identify and arrest a suspect of sexual violence,” says IJM lawyer Ana Maria Callisaya. And even if they are identified and arrested, less than 1% of perpetrators are convicted and brought to justice.
Not so for Evelin’s case, though.
IJM was able to provide Evelin and her family with a skilled team of lawyers and psychologists, completely free of charge.
It took two long years, but eventually, her case was given a verdict: guilty! In February 2023, Evelin’s perpetrator was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the rape of a minor.
Now, Evelin doesn’t let her experience of trauma hold her back. In fact, it’s propelling her forward!
Not only does she have big dreams of becoming a police officer once she finishes high school, she wants to help fight for justice for other women and girls like her.
“Evelin doesn’t consider herself a victim,” shares IJM lawyer Jael Medina. “She considers herself a survivor.”