I am Generation Equality: Demecia Yat continues her search for justice

Billions of people across the world stand on the right side of history every day. They speak up, take a stand, mobilize, and take big and small actions to advance women’s rights. This is Generation Equality.

Date: Friday, November 1, 2019

I am Generation Equality
Demecia Yat poses for a photo. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown
Demecia Yat. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown.

This interview features Demecia Yat, one of 15 women survivors of conflict-related sexual violence in Guatemala. From 2011 – 2016, they fought for justice at a national high court. The groundbreaking case resulted in the conviction of two former military officers of crimes against humanity and granted 18 reparation measures to the women survivors and their communities. Learn more about the case here►

I am Generation Equality because…

We lived what happened… we felt that we had the responsibility to speak out.

Three things you can do to support the abuelas of Sepur Zarco:

  • Learn more about their story
  • Speak out against violence against women whenever and wherever it happens
  • Icon- a girl raises her arm
  • Support the women’s organizations who are assisting the Abuelas in their search for justice.

I suffered violence. I suffered abuse. I suffered the conflict. [That experience] gave me the confidence to speak out. 

We are Abuelas [grandmothers]—women who have collectively committed to seek justice. We felt it was necessary to do it together.

Justice can be reached if we speak out

This is the first time for me in New York, speaking at the UN. For me, this is a great achievement.

My message to the world is, eradicate sexual violence, so that we can live in peace. I want everyone to know what happened in Sepur Zarco so that it doesn’t happen again.

My message to today’s generation is that they should speak out against any violation of their rights. Women who are survivors need to report these violations because then justice can be reached.

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“I want everyone to know what happened in Sepur Zarco so that it doesn’t happen again.”

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When we first started our search for justice, we were afraid, we were alone… we had no financial resources.

We thought we would face what our husbands had faced. But now we are accompanied [by organizations that support us], we know we are not alone. This motivates us to keep going.

The search for justice is not quick

One of the main challenges now is the compliance of the reparation measures. We are asking the government to implement the reparation measures and give us access to basic services.

There are some significant advances–the mobile clinic in the community is providing services, and there are now 13 scholarships offered to adolescent girls in the community.

But the search for justice is not quick. We have not yet found the bodies of our husbands [who were killed or disappeared during the conflict]. We need to find our husbands, our children want to know where their fathers are.

More “I am Generation Equality” stories ►