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Survivors from 15 Countries Create a Movement to Stop Sexual Violence

Buenos Aires, Argentina - March 16, 2024. Survivors from 15 countries gather in Argentina to create a regional movement that combats sexual violence against children crisis in Latin America by focusing on prevention, healing, and justice.

For the first time, a group of survivors from Latin America and the Caribbean are coming together to form the regional branch of the “Brave Movement”, an unprecedented effort dedicated to eradicating sexual violence against children.

As survivors who experienced sexual violence during their childhood, they understand what it means for a child to live in fear and isolation, to carry a sense of responsibility for what happened to them, and the shame and the stigma of having suffered sexual violence. Yet their experiences empower them with a unified, strong voice to raise awareness about this crime and seek protection for Latin American children.

The “Movimiento Valientes Latinoamérica y el Caribe” (“Brave Movement Latin America and the Caribbean”) is led by Brisa De Angulo, a survivor of sexual violence whose legal case became internationally recognized when it reached the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Valientes 167 jpg 202403 CO Brave Movement Approved for Full Use

IJM participated in the Brave Movement as an ally of the movement and in support of two survivors: Betzy*, leader of the survivor network "Mi Historia Importa" in Guatemala, and Leidy*, leader of the organization "Mujeres Protectoras" in Colombia. Both Betzy and Leidy are co-founders of Brave Movement Latin America.


Calling for the elimination of the staute of limitations for cases of sexual violence against children

Among the Movement’s achievements, the creation of a key report that calls for the elimination of the statute of limitations for cases of sexual violence against children. The statute of limitations means that for many children, finding justice is impossible, simply because they "spoke too late". It is for this reason that the report calls for changing the law to allow cases of child sexual violence to not have a time limit so that a victim or his/her legal representatives can file a complaint or initiate legal proceedings against the alleged perpetrator. The Movement proposes that this new rule be applied retroactively to cases that have already exceeded the established time.

Liza Ordoñez, IJM leader in Advocacy and Partnerships for Latin America, explains how critical this step is to bring justice for victims and survivors of sexual violence. This report is the first advocacy effort of the Valientes Movement and is particularly important for victims of child sexual assault, because like many of the survivors present during the event described, child survivors usually take many years to break the silence due to fear and shame.


A regional movement to stop sexual violence

"The launch of the Movimiento Valientes is bringing together survivor activist from across the region to join forces, to feel connected and know that they are not alone, to share experiences and, most importantly, to represent the voices of survivors in decision making spaces at regional and global levels," said Liza.

Upon returning to Colombia and resuming her efforts to prevent sexual violence against children in her community, Leidy reflects on the significance of the meeting: "It was a very enriching activity, and I realized that I am not alone." Feeling the support of other survivors with similar experiences and a common cause, Leidy shares "I feel more encouraged to continue working for this cause."

The collaboration of survivors, government institutions and global organizations such as IJM is catalyzing the fight against sexual violence in Latin America and the Caribbean. Brave Movement is growing strong and will soon participate in the first Ministerial Conference to End Violence Against Children (EVAC) focused on addresses this issue.

With confidence that this transformation is possible in Latin American, Leidy affirms: "I feel that all this work is not in vain" and Betzy assures with resolution "I will not stay behind."



*Pseudonym

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