Last week, a man in a white van with tinted windows drove into our subdivision and tried to abduct two girls — a 3-year-old and a 10-year-old. Providentially, the 10-year-old had a red whistle around her wrist, and used it to scare him away. It was a scary situation. A scary story. And it made me want to buy a gun.
In Bolivia, there was a 5-year-old girl named Yulisa who wasn’t as lucky. According to IJM, “[a man] sexually abused her, beat her and left her for dead. A neighbor found her in a ditch…barely alive.”
Although her being abused was and is horrible, this story gets worse:
Police arrested the man who attacked her, but Luis [Yulisa’s father] knew their battle for justice would only get harder. His family could not afford to hire a lawyer. Getting a court date could take years in Bolivia. Even then, a judge would likely tell them to accept money from Yulisa’s abuser rather than attempt to take him to trial—unthinkable to the heartbroken family.
Luis felt powerless. He feared they might never secure justice for his little girl.
Isn’t that horrible? In the United States, even if you’re poor and can’t afford a lawyer you still get one. But not in Bolivia. Thank God for International Justice Mission, and what they are doing in Bolivia.
Yulisa’s mother found out about IJM Bolivia—the defenders they desperately needed. Social workers counseled Yulisa, and IJM attorneys stood with them faithfully for the next two years.
That relentless defense made all the difference. With brave testimonies from Yulisa and her family and evidence from IJM, the court found her abuser guilty and sentenced him to ten years in prison. In a country where few child abusers are ever convicted, such a victory had seemed utterly impossible to Yulisa’s family.
“Without IJM’s help, we wouldn’t have found justice,” Luis says. “It’s what we were hoping for.”
Yulisa continues to heal today with IJM’s support and parents who love her. Luis finally knows his beloved daughter is safe. Together, he says, “we will be able to overcome.”
Stories like Yulisa’s are why my wife and I support IJM. We can’t afford much, but ever single $1 we can sacrifice will make a real and lasting difference in people’s lives around the world. Join us in supporting the work of IJM. Click here and help us raise $10,000 in the next year to defend girls like Yulisa!
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