You are just 18; you are repeatedly raped and as a result of the rape, you conceive. Months later, you have a still birth; very emotionally and psychologically painful right? Of course it is! But that is not the end of your tribulations because you are arrested shortly after and sentenced to 30 years in prison for murder.
This is not ati some horror movie or fiction writing, this is the exact plight of Evelyn Beatriz Hernandez Cruz, 19, from a small rural community in Cuscatlán, eastern El Salvador.
“Hernandez, a high school student, gave birth into the toilet in April 2016 after falling ill with acute back and stomach pain. She was 18 at that moment and in her third trimester, but hadn’t realised that she was pregnant. She had been repeatedly raped by a gang member over several months as part of a forced sexual relationship” reported the Guardian.
The female judge accepted the prosecutor’s claims that Hernandez failed to seek antenatal care because she did not want the baby, and threw him into the toilet intending to kill him. In sentencing, the judge went further and suggested that Hernandez could not have acted alone and that her mother may also be criminally responsible.
Hernandez spent a week handcuffed to a hospital bed while being treated for severe anaemia and a urinary tract infection, and has been detained ever since. Now this is what we call draconian treatment.
El Salvador is one of five countries where abortion is illegal— even in instances of rape, incest, or when the woman’s life is endangered. It has imprisoned dozens of mainly poor young women for murder after they suffered obstetric complications.
This violates women’s rights, health, and dignity, and it’s just one of the reasons why International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) Western Hemisphere Region started the Resistencia Fund to protect women’s rights, resist harmful ideologies, and persist in providing critical care to families across the region.
To help IPPF fight for women like Evelyn, and ensure that no other woman faces this horrible injustice, please make a gift today to the Resistencia Fund HERE
Together lets advocate for laws that save women’s lives and protect their rights!