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Justice for My Sister – Documenting Violence Against Women in Guatemala

Justice for My Sister – Documenting Violence Against Women in Guatemala
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NOTE: This is a guest blog post from Kimberly Bautista, Director/Producer of the documentary film Justice for my Sister and the Founder/Director of el Colectivo Justicia para mi Hermana.

Justice for my Sister is a 70-minute documentary I directed about violence against women in Guatemala. At its core, Justice for my Sister is a David versus Goliath story. A courageous woman named Rebeca takes on a giant system to demand answers for her sister’s brutal murder and she has all the odds stacked against her — yet her resilience and power is unstoppable. Violence against women, and specifically femicide (gender-based killing) is an epidemic in Guatemala: nearly 6000 women have been murdered in the last decade and only 2% of the killers were sentenced. This film documents one of the few successful cases from beginning to end.

During the production of the film, the I became the target of robbery and rape by an organized criminal group. Doing work of this nature in Guatemala is very dangerous, but because the criminals were never held accountable, it is unknown whether I was targeted because of my work, or if it was simply a random act of violence. Either is a possibility, and a reflection of how widespread violence against women is in Guatemala.

This experience fortified my determination to address this problem on various levels. Together with Rebeca, my crew, and other friends, we formed a Collective in Guatemala. To date, we have brought the film and violence prevention workshops to over 130 communities on a national scale, and reaching over 7,000 viewers. Survivors Connect partnered with us to launch an SMS-based texting service. There are two phases of the project: audiences can subscribe to the service to receive news, tips, updates, and inspirational quotes on how to prevent violence and other activities related to the film on a bi-monthly basis. Audience members have responded positively to the bulk messaging and text back affirmatives and from time to time, the colloquial equivalent to “Right on!” (“A huevo!”).

The second phase allows women to communicate directly with our team via text message for a referral or advice. When a woman wishes to report threats or harassment, or is in need emotional support or reference, she can send an SMS message to our service. From there, an operator will answer with information, responding to every situation accordingly. Typically, the operators receive messages from women who are in abusive relationships and want to leave their aggressor. We have strategic alliances with the local authorities and Embassies in Guatemala, which also gives us leverage to advocate for audience members. We can call the public prosecutors on behalf of those that contact us on via text message to put political pressure on the authorities to follow up on their cases.

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Photo courtesy of Justice for My Sister.

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47 comments

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6:24AM PST on Dec 2, 2012

thank you

11:49AM PDT on May 29, 2012

Thank you for your moral support and good wishes.
I am happy to announce that we are finalists to be sent to France for a pitching competition to produce our upcoming webseries! We will screen the film to women who fled Central America due to domestic violence (now living in the U.S.) and gather stories from our audiences for our short content. PLEASE vote for us! Just takes a few seconds.
http://www.cubanhat.tv/justice-for-my-sister/
Scroll down.
Click the VOTE button.
(A new page opens up) Scroll down.
Enter your name and email.
Click the button: "I hereby declare that after viewing several projects at the online Wanted! pitching contest, I have made my choice and will vote only once."
Promise what you can give (moral support! host a screening! lend services!)
Click the VOTE button.
There you have it! You just brought me one step closer to shooting our new webseries! If I am the top 5, I go to France to pitch the project at a prestigious film festival.
Let's make it happen!
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT and for spreading the word.

3:46AM PDT on May 1, 2012

@ Ira L This is about Guatemala, the injustices toward women as the main theme, NOT about the USA political systems of ignorant behaviour.
That sir is a horse of a different color.

2:13AM PDT on May 1, 2012

End the War on Women (Equal Pay, Healthcare, Contraception, Abortion, Planned Parenthood, etc.) End the War on the Poor (Food Stamps, Children, Disabled). End the War on Middle Class workers (Unions, Protective Services, Child Labor). End the War on Healthcare - a right not a privilege. End the War on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid. End Unfair Tax Cuts for Millionaires and Billionaires. End Citizens United's Dirty Money. End control of the Supreme Court by conservative activist corrupt justices. End the War on Democracy. End the vicious, extremist reign of the tea party republicans.
VOTE FOR OBAMA IN 2012 AND VOTE FOR EVERY DEMOCRAT FOR THE HOUSE AND SENATE. America is on the brink of collapse. Fight AGAINST republican Voter-Suppression. VOTE TO SAVE AMERICA.

2:13AM PDT on May 1, 2012

End the War on Women (Equal Pay, Healthcare, Contraception, Abortion, Planned Parenthood, etc.) End the War on the Poor (Food Stamps, Children, Disabled). End the War on Middle Class workers (Unions, Protective Services, Child Labor). End the War on Healthcare - a right not a privilege. End the War on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid. End Unfair Tax Cuts for Millionaires and Billionaires. End Citizens United's Dirty Money. End control of the Supreme Court by conservative activist corrupt justices. End the War on Democracy. End the vicious, extremist reign of the tea party republicans.
VOTE FOR OBAMA IN 2012 AND VOTE FOR EVERY DEMOCRAT FOR THE HOUSE AND SENATE. America is on the brink of collapse. Fight AGAINST republican Voter-Suppression. VOTE TO SAVE AMERICA.

11:17AM PDT on Apr 30, 2012

If we did not give birth there would be no men who think they are the ones. Sad thing is there will always be overated stupid men who think they art better than God.

3:52AM PDT on Apr 30, 2012

Agree with Lydia, need the good guys to stand up, be counted and voice their opposition!

7:36PM PDT on Apr 29, 2012

Women everywhere, need to unite and send a message that this treatment will not be tolerated. I wish Ms. Bautista the best.

7:07PM PDT on Apr 29, 2012

Otto Perez Molina chose Roxana Baldetti as his running mate as Vice President to show the world he is progressive. He is well educated and aware of the Western world's non- discriminating gender culture. He is pandering yet he is, at the moment the best choice to turn the country in the right direction. He is a retired General and was co signer of the peace treaty in 1996. A man with the discipline of law and order; or so I hope.
There is so much work to be done to get the mentality of the machosistic attitude turned around that, I believe will never happen.
This country will never enter the 21th century never mind how much we wish so.

6:49PM PDT on Apr 29, 2012

winn A. haven't you read my comments? There are NO men in Guatemala who gives a second thought to the plight of women in Guatemala!!! It's a pure Patriachical society where women are not important as a decisive factor in their society. They are the objects of the man's will to subjugate them to their pleasure at times when necessary. You live in a protected environment where women have rights, not so in Guatemala.

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