Reproduced from the IJM Newsroom:
I didn’t write this one, but did provide the details and photos 🙂

October 29,2014

A three-and-a-half- year trial ended this month in Bolivia with justice for a little girl named Mona.* The trial lasted more than half the length of Mona’s lifetime, and the verdict closes a very painful chapter for her family.

When Mona was just 3 years old, she was raped by her older half-brother.

Seeking Justice Despite The Odds

Mona’s mother knew she had to seek justice for her daughter—even though the odds are stacked against impoverished families like hers. In Bolivia, you are more likely to die from slipping in the shower than going to jail for sexually abusing a child.

The horrific crime split the family. Mona’s father refused to believe his son could have assaulted his daughter in this way. (Mona and her half-brother have different mothers.)

A criminal investigator from Bolivia’s national police unit brought the case to IJM. It was clear Mona and her mother needed expert legal support, plus therapy to help move forward from trauma suffered at such a young age.

IJM assisted police to investigate and conduct a crime scene inspection. Working with the public prosecutor, IJM lawyers helped gather evidence by recording statements from Mona’s mother and obtaining psychological reports.

An IJM Bolivia paralegal stands in the prosecutor’s office; he helped gather and prepare critical paperwork and records used as evidence in this case.

Mona Grew Up As The Trial Dragged On

Juries in Bolivia are made up of five people—two professional judges, and three jurors who are called “citizen judges.” One of the biggest challenges is simply getting all parties physically in the room so a hearing can proceed. There are no legal consequences for jurors who fail to report for duty, and even judges are often double-booked or fail to show up. Hearings are routinely postponed, and trials can take years to finish.

On October 9, 2014, Mona’s IJM attorney, Vanessa Saravia, and her mother came to the courthouse for the last time. A judge declared that Mona’s half-brother was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison, without parole.

Vanessa said she had to restate the verdict when they went outside; Mona’s mother barely dared to believe her country’s laws had been enforced for her small daughter. Mona is now 7 years old and attending school. She has a new future ahead of her.

Vanessa says the trial was very tense, and seeing justice was an answer to prayer: “We knew what happened to Mona was wrong, and we were praying the court would see the truth too.”

*A pseudonym

You have a voice. Use it to advocate for children like Mona. One click to learn more.

Get new posts via email

Not a newsletter - just my blog posts on identity, culture and everyday life in your inbox 1-2 times a month.



Get new posts in your inbox

I'm not here to make money - I promise not to give or sell your data to anyone. You'll get 1-2 emails from me at most and you can unsubscribe at any time.


Join the conversation - let me know what you think

You May Also Like

Coincidence vs Providence

I have a friend who used to say that there's no such thing as luck, only statistics. It's all just a matter of chance and probability. What we're really saying when we say something that happened was bad luck is that the improbable (but not impossible) negative outcome happened. What we're really saying when we wish someone good luck is that we hope probabilities work in their favour. Then there are those moments when you really see how the stars have aligned. Yes, it's still probability at play - but I don't believe statistics preclude God's involvement; indeed I believe God can work with probabilities and against them. B, one of our clients, was diagnosed with cancer and given a 60-70% of responding to treatment and a 40% chance overall of recovering. Hospital A doesn't generally provide chemotherapy. They were going to send B home to free up a bed, and put her on the three-month waiting list at another hospital. It's Monday.

Mission made possible

In honour of IJM Bolivia’s incredible month of July (4 convictions, a long-awaited arrest, 60 therapies completed, churches…
Keep reading >

Next stop: Sydney

Tomorrow will be my first day in Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, paid employment in Sydney. There is…