I, Esperanza Guzmán, have been a member of Lideres Campesinas for 20 years. I’m so proud to be in this organization. Here I found support for my domestic violence situation. It wasn’t very terrible, but very sexist, and very controlling and I felt like I didn’t have much value as a woman. Here I was taught to value myself and feel more confident. Today I feel like a useful woman for my community.
Especially when we’ve gone to elementary schools to give talks about child sexual harassment and abuse. Something that touched me and hurt me a lot; one day in one of those conversations I suddenly saw a girl, about 12 years old, sitting next to her mother. I saw her sobbing with her mother, and there I learned that that girl had been sexually abused by a close relative.
When we go to schools to give information about harassment and sexual assault we are in parent/caregiver meetings and usually they take their children and we take materials, brochures, graphic novels and dolls to facilitate these issues. I have told parents not to feel guilty because most of them never wanted their children to have been through this abominable, terrible, horrific, inhuman, unforgivable, disgusting– for a child this is the worst thing that can happen to them when they are just beginning to live—it can spoil their life forever. It steals their childhood, their joy, their safety. Everything is taken away from them.
Just as teenage or adult women when sexually harassed and sexually abused are robbed of their modesty, their essence.
“Women are sacred and must be honored and respected by men; be it her husband, boyfriend, lover, friend, relative, neighbor, stranger, etc.”
That’s why, as long as I’m conscious and I can, I’m always going to defend and support women because of the fact that I’m a woman and know how a woman feels. How she thinks and how she needs to be respected and loved.
The organization of Lideres Campesinas has as our mission to support women as much as possible and farmworker women for being the most unprotected.
Let’s go, women. We’re winning battles. We still have many to win.
Storyteller Esperanza Guzmán did not provide a biography.