What did they tell you when you arrived at the safe house?
Welcome to pure hell.
On the 8th March 2017, International Women’s Day, 56 young women and girls were locked in a 7m x 6.8m classroom at the Hogar Seguro Virgen de la Asunción. Fifteen of them survived. This very moving short documentary was produced by Victoria Bouloubasis and Monica Wise in co-production with Agencia Ocote for the special series “No Fue El Fuego” (“It wasn’t the fire”).
The film delves into the reasons why these young women and girls were in the care (‘protection’) home, the abandonment of the young women and girls by the State, and the shortcomings of the Guatemalan protection system. Over the course of four years, the film makers interviewed three of the adolescents who survived the fire, lawyers, experts and members of organisations, to understand the consequences of state negligence and neglect.
You can watch the film in Spanish, with English sub-titles, here, Niñas / Somos el fuego.
You can visit the Agencia Ocote series, here, “No Fue El Fuego”.
Latin America Bureau, with Kings College, London, presented a podcast as part of their ‘Women Resisting Violence’ series. The podcast featured the events of the Hogar Seguro and there was also an accompanying article, by Steph Wallace.
You can listen to the podcast here, Mourning the 56 in Guatemala, and you can read the accompanying article here, Guatemala: lasting legacy of gender-based violence and state impunity.