19-year-old Evelyn Beatriz Hernandez Cruz gave birth while on the toilet after suffering from what she thought was acute appendicitis. The baby’s death inside Evelyn is considered “murder” by El Salvadorean authorities, who assume it was her fault for not seeking “proper care.”
As if unexpectedly giving birth to a dead child isn’t enough trauma, the pregnancy was the result of repeated rapes by a gang member who forced Evelyn into a sexual relationship. Although the young woman was suffering, she was too afraid of his wrath to escape and contact police.
Her story has reached the ears and ever rising voices of reproductive rights groups, as well as countless women on social media. An outpouring of support flooded the teen’s way during her trial when women stood outside the Isidro Menendez Judicial Center in San Salvador to protest her treatment.
Support through Tweets were abundant, especially from a group called Last17 (named after the 17 women between 1999 and 2011 who went to jail for having a miscarriage) who were very active on Twitter, sending out daily reports during the trial.
Last17 has recently confirmed that Cruz’s attorneys will appeal the ruling.