From 1976 to 1983, human rights abuses in Argentina were rampant as the right-wing military dictatorship went after its leftist opponents.
Now, the daughters of those dictators who had previously only discussed their fathers' crimes in private are coming out and telling their stories.
The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that the women have formed a group called “Disobedient Stories” to publicly recount what life was like growing up alongside their fathers who committed human rights abuses against dissidents.
Laura Delgadillo is a member of “Disobedient Stories.” Her father, Jorge Luis Delgadillo, a former Argentine intelligence service agent, participated in state-sponsored repression against those who fought for democracy.
“These were 40 years of silence, shame and guilt,” Delgadillo said of her family's secret. Her father died without ever being convicted of any crime.
The daughter of Miguel Etchecolatz, a former police investigator sentenced in 2006 to life imprisonment for the disappearance of six people, was so ashamed of her father's crimes that she changed her last name.
Known only as Mariana D., she, along with other daughters, have participated in public demonstrations protesting femicides and a Supreme Court ruling that many observers fear would prevent the prosecution of human rights abusers
While the women of “Disobedient Stories” were adolescents when their fathers kidnapped, tortured and murdered, the impact weighed heavily on them as they came of age. For them, coming forward with their stories is just one way of helping to purge the guilt of knowing what their fathers did and the extent to which their families went to maintain those secrets.
The daughters are also asking forgiveness for the crimes of their fathers.
Official records state that some 7,600 people were either killed or disappeared during Argentina's Dirty War years. However, human rights activists argue that upwards of 30,000 people were killed or disappeared.
It has also been reported that some 500 newborns to political prisoners were kidnapped by the military junta and raised by surrogate families.