Yazmin's Extraordinary Story
Defending Women’s Rights After Overcoming Trauma
Yazmin survived years of sexual abuse as a child only to be wrongly incarcerated for her abuser's death. The Live Your Dream Awards are helping Yazmin, now free, study law to fight for women's justice.
When Yazmin, from Tijuana, Mexico, was a child, she revealed to her mother that her stepfather has been sexually abusing her. While revealing her secret was frightening, the last thing she expected was to be sent to jail for six years.
A Painful Childhood
Yazmin’s painful childhood began when her mother’s police officer boyfriend, her future Stepfather, moved into their home. He treated both her and her sister kindly at first, but soon began to pay extra attention to Yazmin. When her mother would go to work, he would enter her bedroom and watch her sleep.
On her 12th birthday, he raped her for the first time. Yazmin felt that she was unable to tell anyone about the sexual abuse because he threatened to kill her parents if she told anyone. He also said that no one would believe her anyway because he was a police officer.
Though his threats frightened her, Yazmin decided to tell her mother about the years of sexual abuse when she began to fear that her stepfather would rape her younger sister. Yazmin started to recognize that some of his behavior toward her sister was similar to the inappropriate attention that he first paid her—holding her waist, caressing her. To protect her sister, Yazmin fearfully confessed everything to her mother, worrying that she wouldn’t even believe her.
He embraced me and asked how long it had been going on. She was angry, so angry. Not with me, she didn’t doubt the truth of what I said for a single second.
Her mother, furious, told Yazmin’s biological father about the abuse. One day, after returning home from high school, Yazmin came home to the police arresting her mother and father for the murder of her stepfather. Yazmin was also arrested as an accomplice, and she spent six years in a correctional facility, despite the fact that she was the victim of the crime.
Since her release from juvenile prison, Yazmin has enrolled in the Autonomous University of Baja California Law School, and plans to complete her bachelor’s degree in law in November 2016. Her years of unjust incarceration fuel her dream of being an attorney so that she can prevent other women from becoming the victims of an unfair criminal system.
Like me, there are other inmates who suffer from similar injustices; I want to help all those women who have nobody in the world. Many of them would be released with simple paperwork, but don't have the necessary information or resources, so they remain there.
One particular person who she wants to defend is her own mother, who is still in prison.
Yazmin is fighting for the rights of women who have been unjustly imprisoned while also creating support systems for families of the incarcerated. Incredible!
Defending Women's Rights In Prison
In addition to being a full time student, Yazmin is highly active in working to improve the lives of female inmates and their children. She is in the process of chartering a non-profit organization to advocate for and defend the rights of imprisoned women.
She also has created a support group for family members and children of the inmates. The group meets monthly to discuss challenges and to provide moral support. She brings groceries, used clothes, and toys for the family members. Yazmin also organizes biannual prison visits to bring the female inmates food and personal hygiene items.
The cash grant from the Live Your Dream Award will help Yazmin complete her law degree while financially supporting her two younger sisters and her Grandmother.
Yazmin is passionate about her career path as a lawyer because her dream is to give other women a voice and to defend those who have also been unjustly imprisoned.