Norma Cruz: Seeking Justice and Dignity for Guatemalan Women

Posted by Mordica Simpson
March 11, 2009
2009 International Women of Courage Award Recipients: Norma Cruz, Guatemala

About the Author: Mordica Simpson serves as Political Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala. This entry is one in a series of profiles of the 2009 International Women of Courage Award recipients.

Through my work as a Political Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala, I have gotten to know Guatemalan human rights activist Norma Cruz and her organization very well. Norma Cruz is one of eight women worldwide named “2009 International Women of Courage,” and for Norma, the fight for justice and dignity for Guatemalan women is a personal and lifelong battle. As co-founder and director of the NGO Survivors Foundation, Norma has worked tirelessly and courageously to defend female victims of domestic and sexual violence, trafficking in persons, and illegal adoptions. Through her foundation, she has provided emotional, social, and legal support to hundreds of female victims seeking justice and protection. She has fought for justice and human dignity in a country where women have been marginalized and violence against women has been tolerated. She says that there is no sweeter justice for a victim than to see her aggressor being sentenced.

Fighting to ensure justice in Guatemala is a dangerous undertaking with little security. At great risk to her own physical safety and that of her family, she has gone to extraordinary lengths to seek justice for Guatemala’s daughters, mothers, and women who are not able to defend themselves. It is not death, however, that Norma fears, but rather a Guatemala that won’t change. Her struggle is a struggle to change Guatemalan society.

During one of my visits to Norma’s office, I asked her about the numerous photos of women and young girls that decorated the walls. She was able to recount the name and heartbreaking story behind each photo. They are photos of the victims whose cases she is following and for whom she seeks justice. These women and girls remind Norma that she does not have the luxury of “giving up out of hopelessness; these women are witnesses to our commitment to fight for justice.”

As a result of the tireless efforts of Norma and her staff at the Survivor’s Foundation, some of Guatemala’s women have found the justice and dignity that had been out of reach. In 2007 alone, her foundation helped investigate, prosecute, and convict 30 individuals accused of murdering women. Norma is an inspiration and symbol of courage and hope to women in Guatemala and women everywhere who are working for positive change.



March 12, 2009

David in Guatemala writes:

Congratulations. Too bad not more people and churches would stick out their necks to create a better Guatemala. I would like it if someone contacted me in English or Spanish.

Claudia B.
California, USA
March 14, 2009

Claudia in California writes:

I was born in Guatemala and as a child I saw my father beat my mother, many times over. I experience the same abuse and worse, because my mother took it out on me and I was raped by my father.

There was no way I could tell any one, because of fear and also because I knew nobody cared. I guess men abusing, beating, raping, and killing women was normal for the ignorant men in my Country. I guess it made them feel more macho, more men.

I know that Norma is helping women in Guatemala, is there someone advocating for children?

Now there is some type of hope for my Country's women, because of Norma. I wish that she continues with her quest of helping women by bringing them hope and justice.

Drina P.
October 9, 2009

Drina in Guatemala writes:

My family was victim of the impunity in Guatemala, i would like to tell to somebody my history, if somebody can help me let me know, if M Ms. Norma Cruz read this please contact me.



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