“They went to the capital to find a better life, and all they found was the death of the girl.”
- Grandmother of Yuliana
On December 4, 2016 Bogota, Colombia was rocked by the news of the kidnapping, rape and murder of 7 year old Yuliana Samboni by a wealthy local man. While children and women throughout the nation endure sexual violence as part of everyday life, the economic divide between the privileged victimizer, and the victim, a little girl from a poor family, brought this issue to the forefront of the nation’s consciousness.
On December 30, journalist Edinson Bolaños and I travelled to Tambo, Bolivar Municipality in the department of Cauca to visit the family of Yuliana, who had just returned to their hometown. The family graciously allowed us into their home and to the final resting place of Yuliana in order to share with the nation their reality. The root of this tragedy is the structural violence and economic trappings, like the failed quinoa operation due to corruption in their hometown, which lead families like the Sambonís to migrate to the nation’s capital. In search of opportunity in the urban expanse of Bogota, women and children become vulnerable to criminals and families are re-victimized.