When talking about sexual violence, many might recognize that it is an existing and ever growing problem in places all over the world and that underdeveloped countries tend to have high number cases of gender violence or violence against children. However, figures from the Unicef report “Hidden in plain light” published at the end of 2014, broaden the panorama of the seriousness of this problem.
About the UNICEF document
The document shows that approximately 120 million children around the world have been victims of sexual violence, or more clearly 1 in 10 children have suffered a rape.
In 1984, Venezuelan Beatriz Bustamante Oropeza was only 17 years old when she was simultaneously raped by three men for more than 12 consecutive hours. After losing the will to live, the young woman lived on the streets and spiralled into a world of alcohol and drugs as a psychological consequence of the brutal act of violence.
Bustamante clung to the spiritual help of “Papito Dios” as she herself says and to her strength as a woman.
Today she is a lawyer, mother of a 19-year-old girl, author of the book “Kuisha: Victim of Rape” and president of the Angeles Foundation del Camino a non-profit organization that provides support to victims of abuse sexual.
Angels in our path
The Ángeles del Camino Foundation, was a founded in Venezuela in mid-2008. It is an institution that promulgates not only women’s rights, but human rights at a general level and especially assists children and teens who are sexual abuse victims.
“We are angels of light in this dark world. Our mission is to patch up stories. to lift the fallen and to plant hope were it seems to be lost”, says Bustamante.
During its first 7 years, Ángeles del Camino has had as one of its main objectives was conducting workshops and forums to report sexual abuse and raise awareness on this issue.
In Venezuela, Bustamante, hand in hand with her collaborating “angels”, have carried out hundreds of informational activities with audiences ranging from 10 to 5 thousand people, emphasizing educational institutes, where the public is most prone to being abused.
The help that Ángeles del Camino provides to rape victims goes beyond the spiritual restoration of the person. Since its inception, the foundation has also had to offer support and advice in legal matters in order to obtain justice in cases and obtain the corresponding sanctions against the aggressors.
However, Bustamante assures us that due to the lack of guarantees in judicial matters in Venezuela, the organization has not taken criminal actions. “We have recommended not to carry it out and we are currently clinging to the spiritual, so that the person rescues his identity and spirit of life,” he reports.
Additionally, they provide financial support to the victims to pay for expenses inherent to their education, as well as other maintenance costs in case the family requires it.
They hold special fundraising events and have the support of some private sector companies that make financial contributions to the organization.
Bustamante’s thirst to help as many people as possible has led the foundation to participate in events in countries such as Brazil, Guatemala, the United States, Costa Rica, Panama and Spain. Because of this, its growth has been imminent within and outside the American continent.
“In these countries we have been exposing who we are, hoping with faith to be able to restore and help some victims. We also seek to capture the interest of those who believe in us and join our organization to continue advancing. The reception has always been honorable, expressing a lot of admiration for what we do.”, she says.
Fear of reporting
According to a report from the Public Ministry of Venezuela, in 2014, 48,100 cases of gender violence (only abuse against women) were registered in the country. But one of the main problems of sexual abuse is fear of reporting it, which is why it is suspected that the number of cases is even higher.
I thinks that a movie about the subject matter could be of inmensa help it could be a great tool to generate a positive impact that will allow us to reach people all over the world, Bustamante assure us.
Bustamante expresses that the fear of the woman to make the pertinent complaints against the aggressors has several reasons. It clearly responds to the fact of “knowing that she is alone because she lacks the support that protects her in the enjoyment and exercise of her rights and guarantees”. She also adds that the laws of each country they should promote the comprehensive protection of the family, women and children.
Among the short-term projects, Beatriz Bustamante seeks to materialize her dream of having a headquarters for the Ángeles del Camino foundation. “Our organization must imminently reach its headquarters, where we will not only shelter all those victims of minor or legal rape who come to us for help, but we will also provide them with a loving home environment, peace and stability to help him achieve his spiritual and professional growth, “she says.
Likewise, the institution seeks funding to record a film based on Bustamante’s autobiographical book “Kuisha: Rape Victim“, which not only recounts the tragedy of which he was subjected, but also walks through family values, seeking to promote better communication in the family nucleus.