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A Salvadoran Rape Victim Sentenced To 30 Years In Prison For Having A Stillbirth Has Been Acquitted

On average, there are 321,000 victims of rape and sexual assault in the United States, and in Latin American countries those numbers are even more horrifying. In many Latin American countries, violence against women is a lot more prevalent and women even end up paying far greater consequences for simply being victims of rape and assault than their abusers. For one, in countries like El Salvador, there’s an absolute ban on abortion which has led to the harsh criminalization of women and their bodies. 

In July of 2017, the now 21-year-old Evelyn Beatríz Hernández Cruz had been sentenced to 30 years in prison for aggravated homicide by a court in El Salvador. The year before, the young rape survivor was found on the floor of her bathroom drenched in blood and when she was taken to the hospital, doctors examined her and saw signs of delivery but no baby. Hours later, after doctors had reported this to the authorities, local officials found a newborn dead in a septic tank. Then the young woman was accused of inducing abortion and aggravated homicide. 

On Monday, August 19, 21-year-old Evelyn Beatríz Hernández Cruz was acquitted after a judge ruled that there was not enough evidence to convict her of the alleged crime she had been accused of years prior. 

According to reports, the young woman walked out of a women’s jail in El Salvador on February 15 where she was met by a crowd of cheering women carrying “Justice for Evelyn” banners. This is where Evelyn had been for nearly three years after being convicted for aggravated homicide after she had a stillbirth. Her recent acquittal, however, didn’t come easy. Earlier this month, she was headed back to the courtroom to be tried once more for the same crime. 

Evelyn isn’t the first woman to be accused of murder by El Salvador after having a miscarriage.

According to BuzzFeed News, she’s one of the dozens of women accused of murder and “her case will be the first of its kind tried under recently inaugurated President Nayib Bukele, who has spoken out against the punishment of impoverished women who have suffered ‘spontaneous abortions,’ putting the new administration’s stance on women’s rights to the test.” Although it’s a significant step in the right direction, there’s still so much more to be done in regards to fighting for these women’s rights to choose and have ultimate control and agency over their bodies.

Evelyn, who served 33 months of her initial 3-year sentence, always maintained her innocence. She repeatedly has said that she didn’t know she was pregnant until the delivery happened. The young woman had been raped by a local gang member while she was still a teenager, and didn’t know she was pregnant until 32 weeks later. 

According to CNN, Evelyn told reporters last month that if she had known she was pregnant, she would have “awaited the baby with pride and joy.” 

Evelyn’s case has not only drawn a lot of media attention because of the nature of it but has also drawn major spotlight to El Salvador’s abortion laws which are known to be some of the strictest in the world. 

The country imposed a total ban on abortions since 1998, according to ThinkProgress. It’s one of the 16 countries in the world with these strict regulations—other countries including Egypt, Honduras, Haiti, Nicaragua, among others. In El Salvador, women who are even suspected of having an abortion could be prosecuted for a crime. 

For example, if a woman even seeks abortion treatment and is reported to the authorities, she could face being prosecuted for that crime. Pregnancy terminations of any kind are simply illegal in El Salvador, including when the pregnancy poses a risk to the mother or like Evelyn’s case, even if the woman was raped. 

After the verdict of her acquittal was announced on Monday, Evelyn can be seen smiling jubilantly with tears in her eyes in images circulating on social media. “Thank God, justice was served,” the young woman told reporters after her ruling.  

“I thank all of you who have supported me and thank everyone from around the world who has shown support,” Evelyn said, according to CNN. “It was tough to be locked up, especially when I was innocent. There are others who are still locked up and I hope they are freed soon.” 

Dozens of women in El Salvador have been prosecuted for murder after suffering miscarriages and stillbirth’s and given sentences between 30 and 40 years. 

After this pivotal moment for women’s rights of El Salvador and other countries with similar abortion laws, we hope more individuals will make the choice to support other cases and women like this one. 

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Mexican Politician Accused Of Rape Vows To Block Elections Unless He’s Allowed To Run

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Mexican Politician Accused Of Rape Vows To Block Elections Unless He’s Allowed To Run

It’s an election year in Mexico and that means that things are heating up as candidates fight for the top spot. At the same time, Mexico is experiencing a burgeoning fight for women’s rights that demands accountability and justice. Despite all the marches and protests and civil disobedience by hundreds of thousands of Mexicans, it remains to be seen how much change will happen and when. 

Case in point: Félix Salgado, a candidate for governor of Guerrero who has been accused of rape and sexual assault but maintains the support of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO). Now, after being disqualified from the race because of undisclosed campaign finances, the candidate is vowing to block any elections from taking place unless he is allowed to continue his campaign. 

A disqualified candidate is vowing to block elections unless he’s allowed to run.

Félix Salgado was running to be governor of the Mexican state of Guerrero when he was faced with allegations of rape and sexual assault. The commission that selects party candidates allowed him to remain in the race and he continues to maintain the support of President AMLO – who is of the same political party, Morena. 

However, in late March, election regulators ordered that Salgado be taken off the ballot due to a failure to report campaign spending, according to the AP. Mexico’s electoral court ordered the Federal Electoral Institute (FEI) to reconsider their decision last week. Salgado is already threatening to throw the election process into chaos.

“If we are on the ballot, there will be elections,” Salgado told supporters in Guerrero after leading a caravan of protestors to the FEI’s office in Mexico City on Sunday. “If we are not on the ballot, there will not be any elections,” Salgado said.

The AP notes that Salgado is not making an empty threat. Guerrero is an embattled state overrun with violence and drug gangs and many elections have been previously disrupted. Past governors have been forced out of office before finishing their terms. Salgado was previously filmed getting into a confrontation with police in 2000.

It was just weeks ago that the ruling party allowed Salgado’s candidacy to move forward.

In mid-March, Morena confirmed that Félix Salgado would be its candidate for governor in Guerrero after completing a new selection process in which the former senator was reportedly pitted against four women.

Morena polled citizens in Guerrero last weekend to determine levels of support for five different possible candidates, according to media reports. Among the four women who were included in the process were Acapulco Mayor Adela Román and Senator Nestora Salgado.

Félix Salgado was the clear winner of the survey, even coming out on top when those polled were asked to opine on the potential candidates’ respect for the rights of women. He also prevailed in all other categories including honesty and knowledge of the municipality in which the poll respondents lived.

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She Moved Up The Ranks From Janitor To Nurse Practitioner, Now She’s Viral

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She Moved Up The Ranks From Janitor To Nurse Practitioner, Now She’s Viral

Talk about a dream fulfilled.

For ten years, Jaines Andrades harbored her desire to move up from her custodial position at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Massachusetts to nurse. Now, ten years later, as an RN she’s excelled well past her drams.

Andrades worked her way through nursing school while working at Baystate Medical in Springfield, Massachusetts, as a janitor.

Ten years ago, Andrades accepted a position as a custodial staff member at Baystate Medical Center with big dreams of being a nurse. Born to Puerto Rican parents Andrades moved from her family home in Springfield, MA in 2005 when she was 14 years old. From there she and enrolled as a student at Putnam Technical-Vocational Academy with hopes of moving up the ranks as a nurse.

“As I got older and approached graduation I just didn’t see how a little girl like me could ever become a lawyer. I didn’t see it as something that was possible for me, so I got discouraged from the idea,” Andrades explained according to Masslive.com.

That all changed after she struck up a conversation with a nurse during a doctor’s visit for her mother. According to Andrades, the nurse tipped her off on the benefits of nursing. “He told me about the program to become a nurse, and, the more he talked, I just thought, ‘Yeah, I can do this.’ It’s a respectable profession, and I could provide for myself financially, so the idea grew from there.”

Soon after she enrolled at Holyoke Community College, ticked off all of her pre-requisites and a handful of introductory nursing classes. Then, in 2010, she transferred to Elms College.

The same year she transferred, Andrades applied for a job in Baystate’s Environmental Services Department and became a custodian at the hospital.

Facebook

“It’s tough to be the person that cleans. If I had to go back and do it again, I would. It’s so worth it,” Andrades explained in an interview with WBZ-TV.

In a Facebook post, Andrades wrote about her journey from hospital custodian to nurse practitioner and posted a picture of all three of her IDs.

Andrades’ story went viral after she shared her experience to Facebook.

Speaking about her journey from custodian to nurse practitioner, Andrades shared a picture of all three of her IDs.

“Even if it was cleaning, as long as I was near patient care I’d be able to observe things. I thought it was a good idea,” the RN explained in her interview before sharing that her favorite part of being a nurse has been her ability to provide patients with comfort. “I just really love the intimacy with people.”

“Nurses and providers, we get the credit more often but people in environmental and phlebotomy and dietary all of them have such a huge role. I couldn’t do my job without them,” she went onto explain. “I’m so appreciative and like in awe that my story can inspire people,” Andrades told WBZ-TV. “I’m so glad. If I can inspire anyone, that in itself made the journey worth it.”

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