Jan De Deken // Roel Nollet // 2018 // 25 min
“When I woke up in the hospital, there were policemen around me. They said I killed my child.” Maria Teresa De Rivera is 34 when she has a miscarriage on the toilet. She is sentenced to 40 years in prison because of the strict abortion laws in her country. She doesn’t only lose a child, but also her freedom. Under the pressure of the Catholic Church, El Salvador has one of the most rigid abortion laws in the world.
At the time of filming, several other women are still in prison, such as Evelyn. She is 19 and was raped multiple times by a member of a drug gang, but is afraid to talk about it. The perpetrator is still free.
"Every ten minutes a woman or child in El Salvador falls victim to sexual violence," says Maria. She is now receiving asylum in Sweden. "If you go out in the morning, you don't know if you will return in the evening." The murder rates in El Salvador break all records. While women are being locked up for a miscarriage, gangs are fighting openly in the streets.
"There are statistics of girls who commit suicide, but those statistics do not state that they did so because they were pregnant," Lucie says. There is hardly any awareness of contraceptives in the country: when girls get pregnant unwantedly, they often turn to very dangerous abortion methods.
"Women are change money," says Vanda Pignato. She looks for the underlying causes in a strongly patriarchal society. The former first lady and current minister of Social Inclusion founded ‘Ciudad Mujer’ - Woman City - to help women with problems. "We have to adjust the mentality and reform the judiciary, because as long as there is no equality, nothing will change."
report by Jan De Deken and Roel Nollet
Realised with the support of Journalismfund.eu Fonds Pascal Decroos voor bijzondere journalistiek
"Every ten minutes a woman or child in El Salvador falls victim to sexual violence,"
/// MARIA DE RIVERA /// ///