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A Mother’s Anguish

The nightmare started whenever I found my daughter Diana of 10 years of age bleeding from her wounds after being sexually abused. I rushed her to the hospital thinking that she would be safe there, and treated for her wounds like any other patient, but after one night she was taken off in a car without my being told her destination. I ran after the car shouting to give me back my daughter, but off they drove. I went back into the hospital to find out where they had taken Diana and learnt that she had been transferred to the governmental Home of INABIF. I took a taxi to their offices and asked to have my daughter, but once again this request was ignored.

Later that day as she was being taken in another car, and into which I managed to clamber, the nurse accompanying Diana received a phone call telling her to put me out of the car. So, the car stopped and I was forced out screaming and shouting. Once again I returned to INABIF demanding to know where they had taken Diana, but nobody would tell me. Eventually I heard someone say by telephone that she had been taken to Pachacamac. This is an area in the south of Lima; the size of a large town, but off I went in search of Diana. I looked for three full days when eventually I came across a high wall behind which I heard children playing. I scaled the wall and asked a young girl if she knew my daughter, and described her to the young girl. She said that, “Yes, she was here”, and opened the door to let me in. But before I could enter another person came along at that moment and refused me entry. I complained that my daughter was in there and wanted to see her, pleading with the women as a mother. She said her daughter was here but I would need permission to see her. I asked where I would get this permission, and she replied, “INABIF”.

Off once again to INABIF and after two days of fighting with the personnel I eventually received the document that would let me see my daughter. When I arrived back at Pachacamac, they accepted the permission but told me that there were visits only on a Sunday, to return then. Another three or four days of waiting, but I did finally see Diana and had visits every Sunday. I used to go early in order to try and get in before the specified hour, or offer to do some voluntarily work in order to be close to Diana, and thus passed a year of visits. Diana was always complaining at the treatment she received from those in charge, beaten and abused, and living in very unhygienic conditions. But what could I do? There was no way I was allowed to take her out and bring her home.

Then one day Diana was accused of breaking something in the kitchen and her visits were suspended. When I was eventually allowed back in I discovered that she was no longer there, she been transferred to someplace else. This took me back to INABIF where I eventually learnt that she had been taken to a Home in San Martin de Porres, another huge area in the north of Lima, and so my search started again. Eventually somebody pointed me in the direction of St. Bernadette’s’ Children Centre situated atop a hillside. I went up the hill to enquire, at my wits end, and from there was sent to the Children’s Home a few minutes’ walk away. There I knocked on the door nearly in hysterics at this stage, and was greeted by Abel, one of the resident psychologists. He tried to calm me down as I told something of my story, and asking him was Diana there. He replied that she was and would go and get her, and to my relief there she was running down the stairs and into my arms. I had imagined all sorts of horrors happening to her, but now I was with her again. I asked what was going to happen, was something bad going to come of this, but Abel explained to me the processes in the Centre which gave me hope.

Having talked with Abel and Violeta , the psychologist in charge, who explained that they also were tied to orders of INABIF, I could see that it was in the best interest for Diana and myself that she stayed there in order to receive the attention she needed to overcome her experiences of being abused, but the difference was, I was part of the process and could see her frequently. The Children’s Home became my second family over the following year. They did so much for Diana and me that I will always be grateful to them. I will do anything I can to help them as I owe them so much. I have grown myself as a human being through the therapy I received and now am more able to give my daughter what she needs. So, I went from complete desperation, my heart breaking and not wanting to live, to new hope, happiness and joy. I am so grateful. Thanks to the Home we can live again as a family.

A testimony by a parent, 2013

 



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