Filing photos is an emotionally taxing task.

It’s not easy flicking through the faces of kids who have been sexually abused. Equally powerful are pictures of the parents determined to have justice for their son or daughter.

Smiles. Frowns. Joy. Sadness. Hope. Despair. Courage. Fear. Our image archive spans a wide spectrum of emotions. It’s beautiful, but in a way that makes you ache inside.

Most of these are photos I didn’t take – some date back to 2007, when IJM first opened its Bolivia field office. Most of these are kids I’ve never met, but I now feel that on some level I know them. I haven’t read all their stories, but I can sense the heartbreak and the hardship they must tell.

I’m going to share just the one photo with y’all. I found it the other day while putting together a conviction report.

This is Magdalena*. We have a lovely set of photos of her, playing with her cat and with her doll out in the Bolivian altiplano. She looks so happy. Last week, we secured a 28-year conviction for rape against her elderly stepfather. It’s a record sentence for IJM Bolivia. Tragically, Magdalena had lupus and passed away in 2014, aged just 13.

Magdalena*. Last week, we secured a 28-year conviction against her stepfather, for rape. Sadly, Magdalena passed away in 2014. (Photo credit: Hilary Rutz).
Photo credit: Hilary Rutz.

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